- liable to make awkward blunders: a bumbling mechanic.
- clumsily incompetent or ineffectual: bumbling diplomacy.
- the act or practice of making blunders: The bumbling of their officers cost them the battle.
Origin of bumbling
- to bungle or blunder awkwardly; muddle: He somehow bumbled through two years of college.
- to stumble or stagger.
- to speak in a low, stuttering, halting manner; mumble.
- to do (something) clumsily; botch.
- an awkward blunder.
Origin of bumble1
- to make a buzzing, humming sound, as a bee.
Origin of bumble2
1350–1400; Middle English bomblen, frequentative of bomben to boom, buzz; imitative
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Related Wordsinept, bungling, blundering, awkward, clumsy, gauche, graceless, maladroit, unpolished, butterfingered
- to speak or do in a clumsy, muddled, or inefficient wayhe bumbled his way through his speech
- (intr) to proceed unsteadily; stumble
- a blunder or botch
C16: perhaps a blend of bungle + stumble
- (intr) to make a humming sound
C14 bomblen to buzz, boom, of imitative origin
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
Word Origin and History for bumbling
"to flounder, blunder," 1530s, probably of imitative origin. Related: Bumbled; bumbler; bumbling.
"self-important petty official," 1856, from the name of the fussy, pompous, stupid beadle in Dickens' "Oliver Twist."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper