[ floun-der ]
/ ˈflaʊn dər /
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See synonyms for: flounder / floundered / floundering on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
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.
to be in imminent danger of failure: The negotiations floundered primarily on the question of extending regional autonomy.
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Origin of flounder

First recorded in 1570–80; perhaps blend of flounce1 and founder2

Other definitions for flounder (2 of 2)

[ floun-der ]
/ ˈflaʊn dər /

noun, plural (especially collectively) floun·der, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) floun·ders.
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 flounder

1400–50; late Middle English <Anglo-French floundre<Scandinavian; compare Norwegian flundra
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use flounder in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for flounder (1 of 2)

/ (ˈflaʊndə) /

verb (intr)
to struggle; to move with difficulty, as in mud
to behave awkwardly; make mistakes
the act of floundering

Word Origin for flounder

C16: probably a blend of founder ² + blunder; perhaps influenced by flounder ²

usage for flounder

Flounder is sometimes wrongly used where founder is meant: the project foundered (not floundered) because of a lack of funds

British Dictionary definitions for flounder (2 of 2)

/ (ˈflaʊndə) /

noun plural -der or -ders
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 for flounder

C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse flythra, Norwegian flundra
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