- to struggle with stumbling or plunging movements (usually followed by about, along, on, through, etc.): He saw the child floundering about in the water.
- to struggle clumsily or helplessly: He floundered helplessly on the first day of his new job.
Origin of flounder1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for flounder on Thesaurus.com
- a European, marine flatfish, Platichthys flesus, used for food.
- any of numerous similar or closely related non-European flatfishes.
- any flatfish other than soles.
Origin of flounder2
Examples from the Web for flounder
Instead, Bayou, Israel's hedge-fund group, continued to flounder and the deception only grew.This Week’s Hot Reads: July 2, 2012
July 2, 2012
Why did Obama's White House flounder in its initial response to the economic crisis?Blame the Weak Recovery on Larry Summers?
February 28, 2012
China may flounder on the soccer field, but the country is in the grip of a mad World Cup fever.China Goes Mad for Soccer
June 26, 2010
And with his head still turned, Andrew felt a shock and flounder.Way of the Lawless
Let dear Aristide flounder about; this only moulds young people.The Fortune of the Rougons
What we've done so far, you might best describe as flounder.Project Mastodon
Clifford Donald Simak
If there was a sump-hole in sight, that horse was sure to flounder into it.The Trail of '98
Robert W. Service
Only when she came to describe Bim and to tell of what he said, did she flounder.The Book of All-Power
- to struggle; to move with difficulty, as in mud
- to behave awkwardly; make mistakes
- the act of floundering
- Also called: fluke a European flatfish, Platichthys flesus having a greyish-brown body covered with prickly scales: family Pleuronectidae : an important food fish
- US and Canadian any flatfish of the families Bothidae (turbot, etc) and Pleuronectidae (plaice, halibut, sand dab, etc)
Word Origin and History for flounder
1590s, perhaps an alteration of founder (q.v.), influenced by Dutch flodderen "to flop about," or native verbs in fl- expressing clumsy motion. Figurative use is from 1680s. Related: Floundered; floundering. As a noun derived from this sense, from 1867.
flatfish, c.1300, from Anglo-French floundre, from Old North French flondre, from Old Norse flydhra; related to Middle Low German vlundere, Danish flynder; ultimately cognate with Greek platys "flat, wide, broad" (see plaice (n.)).