- to mix up in a confused or bungling manner; jumble.
- to cause to become mentally confused.
- to cause to become confused or stupid with or as if with an intoxicating drink.
- to make muddy or turbid, as water.
- to mix or stir (a cocktail, chocolate, etc.).
- Ceramics. to smooth (clay) by rubbing it on glass.
- to behave, proceed, or think in a confused or aimless fashion or with an air of improvisation: Some people just muddle along, waiting for their big break.
- the state or condition of being muddled, especially a confused mental state.
- a confused, disordered, or embarrassing condition; mess.
- muddle through, to achieve a certain degree of success but without much skill, polish, experience, or direction: None of us knew much about staging a variety show, so we just had to muddle through.
Origin of muddle
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- (intr, adverb) mainly British to succeed in some undertaking in spite of lack of organization
- (often foll by up) to mix up (objects, items, etc); jumble
- to confuse
- to make (water) muddy or turbulent
- US to mix or stir (alcoholic drinks, etc)
- a state of physical or mental confusion
Word Origin and History for muddle through
1590s, "destroy the clarity of" (a transferred sense); literal sense ("to bathe in mud") is from c.1600; perhaps frequentative formation from mud, or from Dutch moddelen "to make (water) muddy," from the same Proto-Germanic source. Sense of "to make muddy" is from 1670s; that of "make confused" first recorded 1680s. Meaning "to bungle" is from 1885. Related: Muddled; muddling.
1818, from muddle (v.).
Idioms and Phrases with muddle through
Blunder through something, manage but awkwardly, as in The choir never knows how to line up, but we muddle through somehow. [Early 1900s]