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muddle

[muhd-l] /ˈmʌd l/
verb (used with object), muddled, muddling.
1.
to mix up in a confused or bungling manner; jumble.
2.
to cause to become mentally confused.
3.
to cause to become confused or stupid with or as if with an intoxicating drink.
4.
to make muddy or turbid, as water.
5.
to mix or stir (a cocktail, chocolate, etc.).
6.
Ceramics. to smooth (clay) by rubbing it on glass.
verb (used without object), muddled, muddling.
7.
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.
noun
8.
the state or condition of being muddled, especially a confused mental state.
9.
a confused, disordered, or embarrassing condition; mess.
Verb phrases
10.
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
1540-1550
1540-50; mud + -le; cognate with Middle Dutch moddelen to muddy
Related forms
muddledness, muddlement, noun
muddlingly, adverb
premuddle, noun, verb (used with object), premuddled, premuddling.
unmuddled, adjective
Synonyms
1. confuse, botch, bungle, spoil.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for muddled
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Their own thinking was so muddled, their views of life so out of gear.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • No one has ever told what you are—muddled, criminally muddled.

    Howards End E. M. Forster
  • That morning, in his glass cage, he muddled his columns several times.

    The Trimming of Goosie James Hopper
  • Ward wished devoutly that he could clear his thoughts; they were muddled.

  • Inside his muddled head, however, he was chuckling to himself.

    Lost Face Jack London
British Dictionary definitions for muddled

muddle

/ˈmʌdəl/
verb (transitive)
1.
(often foll by up) to mix up (objects, items, etc); jumble
2.
to confuse
3.
to make (water) muddy or turbulent
4.
(US) to mix or stir (alcoholic drinks, etc)
noun
5.
a state of physical or mental confusion
Derived Forms
muddled, adjective
muddledness, muddlement, noun
muddling, adjective, noun
muddlingly, adverb
muddly, adjective
Word Origin
C16: perhaps from Middle Dutch moddelen to make muddy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for muddled

muddle

v.

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.

muddle

n.

1818, from muddle (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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