verb (used with object), bun·gled, bun·gling.

to do clumsily and awkwardly; botch: He bungled the job.

verb (used without object), bun·gled, bun·gling.

to perform or work clumsily or inadequately: He is a fool who bungles consistently.


a bungling performance.
that which has been done clumsily or inadequately.

Origin of bungle

First recorded in 1520–30; of uncertain origin
Related formsbun·gler, nounbun·gling·ly, adverbun·bun·gling, adjective

Synonyms for bungle

1. mismanage, muddle, spoil, ruin; foul up.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bungled

Contemporary Examples of bungled

Historical Examples of bungled

  • The game was at an end, and I had bungled my part of it like any fool.

  • You think that the bungled matter at Newlington's may have shaken it?

    Mistress Wilding

    Rafael Sabatini

  • I meant what I said, but I was carried out of myself--clumsy--bungled my meaning.


    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Domiloff, you seem to have bungled everything you have touched lately.

    The Traitors

    E. Phillips (Edward Phillips) Oppenheim

  • At some point, my good Dalny, you must have bungled the affair.

British Dictionary definitions for bungled



(tr) to spoil (an operation) through clumsiness, incompetence, etc; botch


a clumsy or unsuccessful performance or piece of work; mistake; botch
Derived Formsbungler, nounbungling, adjective, noun

Word Origin for bungle

C16: perhaps of Scandinavian origin; compare dialect Swedish bangla to work without results
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 bungled



1520s, origin obscure. OED suggests imitative; perhaps a mix of boggle and bumble, or more likely from a Scandinavian word akin to Swedish bangla "to work ineffectually," Old Swedish bunga "to strike" (cf. German Bengel "cudgel," also "rude fellow"). Related: Bungled; bungling.



1650s, from bungle (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper