[ ad-l ]
See synonyms for: addleaddled on

verb (used with or without object),ad·dled, ad·dling.
  1. to make or become confused.

  2. to make or become rotten, as eggs.

  1. mentally confused; muddled.

  2. rotten (def. 1): addle eggs.

Origin of addle

First recorded before 1000; Middle English adel “rotten,” Old English adela “liquid, filth”; cognate with Middle Low German adele “liquid manure”

Other words from addle

  • ad·dled, adjective

Words Nearby addle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use addle in a sentence

  • To Richard and to Musa there were homage and flattery enough to addle wiser wits than theirs.

    God Wills It! | William Stearns Davis
  • The fact was that there may have been an addle-pated Red among the mill hands of that time, but if there was I had never met him.

    The Iron Puddler | James J. Davis
  • I wonder they had not abandoned it; for a crack of light into a wren's nest would certainly addle the eggs.

    Roof and Meadow | Dallas Lore Sharp
  • You know he has nothing to recommend him but money and a ridiculous roll of addle-headed predecessors; now, don't you?

    Great Expectations | Charles Dickens
  • But says I to my eye, addle Wildenheim has two much spirit of her own to covet her neighbour's goods.

    Manners, Vol 2 of 3 | Frances Brooke

British Dictionary definitions for addle (1 of 2)


/ (ˈædəl) /

  1. to make or become confused or muddled

  2. to make or become rotten

  1. (in combination) indicating a confused or muddled state: addle-brained; addle-pated

Origin of addle

C18: (vb), back formation from addled, from c13 addle rotten, from Old English adela filth; related to dialect German Addel liquid manure

British Dictionary definitions for addle (2 of 2)


/ (ˈædəl) /

  1. Northern English dialect to earn (money or one's living)

Origin of addle

C13: addlen, from Old Norse öthlask to gain possession of property, from ōthal property

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