View synonyms for floundering


[ floun-der-ing ]


  1. struggling, especially clumsily or helplessly:

    The vast leap from tonal music to modernism was left to the floundering student to make, unaided.

    These classic writing mistakes are guaranteed to unlock the door to instant failure and free you to flop like a floundering fish on the floor.

  2. in imminent danger of failure or catastrophic loss:

    The floundering venture laid off half its 200 employees and its chairman resigned.

    The player’s 2017 campaign not only revived what looked like a floundering career, it proved to be one of the best he'd ever had in the big leagues.


  1. a clumsy, violent, or chaotic struggle:

    With many awkward flounderings, and much spluttering, I managed to keep barely afloat until I reached the shore.

    The floundering of the economy in the last decade has left many hardworking individuals without a job.

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Other Words From

  • floun·der·ing·ly adverb
  • un·floun·der·ing adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of floundering1

First recorded in 1590–1600; flounder 1( def ) + -ing 2( def ) for the adjective senses; flounder 1( def ) + -ing 1( def ) for the noun sense

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Example Sentences

The search giant is keenly interested in growing its cloud computing division alongside its business collaboration tools, yet its many attempts at developing chat services—Allo, Duo, Hangouts—have floundered.

From Fortune

In fact, the games industry has thrived at a time when other entertainment mediums have floundered.

From Digiday

Arcadia, once a mighty business that dominated the British high street with brands such as Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, and Dorothy Perkins, has been similarly floundering.

From Quartz

In Coach Zac Taylor’s second season, the team is floundering at 2-7-1 and now is without its franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future.

Moreover, the show never fully decides whether Rory is floundering professionally because the economy is bad, because she is a bad journalist, or because she isn’t emotionally strong enough to handle the hustle.

From Vox

His November 2007 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner speech in Iowa jump-started a floundering campaign.

There between the third and fourth version of “Sheep in Fog” is the shift that sets Plath floundering and signals her desperation.

In this case, Santorum received a major assist from Ron Paul, who left Romney floundering in an embarrassingly weak third.

In 2011, with the economy floundering and even bad jobs in short supply, advice like this might ring a bit idealistic.

When she graduated from Mount Holyoke College, leaving behind an undistinguished record, she was floundering.

So had he stopped there it would have been wonderfully well; but he had to go floundering innocently on.

He loosed the blankets from his shoulders, and floundering down the slope was lost in the vapor.

Dawn found him at last, floundering hopelessly in snow-screened woods, going on toward he knew not where.

After two or three more steps, the bottom fell away and, floundering savagely, he sank to his shoulders.

My fears of burglars or stray cattle were dispelled by the voices of lost and floundering men calling to each other.


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