to feel or grope about clumsily: She fumbled in her purse for the keys.
Sports. to fumble the ball.
to make, handle, etc., clumsily or inefficiently: to fumble an attempt; He fumbled his way through the crowded room.
Sports. to fail to hold or maintain hold on (a ball) after having touched it or carried it.
the act of fumbling: We completed the difficult experiment without a fumble.
Sports. an act or instance of fumbling the ball.
- fumbler, noun
- fum·bling·ly, adverb
- fum·bling·ness, noun
- outfumble, verb (used with object), out·fum·bled, out·fum·bling.
- un·fum·bled, adjective
- un·fum·bling, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use fumble in a sentence
Trubisky lost a fumble on a sack, although the Packers might have gotten away with a face-mask penalty that went uncalled.Aaron Rodgers continues to thrive. Mitchell Trubisky? Not so much. | Mark Maske | November 30, 2020 | Washington Post
He had a touchdown on a 17-yard return of a fumble recovery, then had a touchdown on a 28-yard return of a fumble recovery on the Vikings’ next offensive play.Tyreek Hill and Derrick Henry deliver monster performances in NFL Week 12 | Cindy Boren, Mark Maske, Des Bieler | November 30, 2020 | Washington Post
The Wildcats’ 29-20 loss in East Lansing — a game closer than its margin since the Spartans recovered a fumble in the end zone on the final play — serves as a routine reminder of the inconsistencies of most college football teams.College football winners and losers: Pac-12 playoff hopes disappear with Oregon’s loss | Patrick Stevens | November 29, 2020 | Washington Post
The score was tied at 7 when the Tigers’ Cole Mashburn recovered the fumble at the Memphis 46-yard line.Navy is back in action at last but sputters to a 10-7 loss to Memphis | Kareem Copeland | November 29, 2020 | Washington Post
A forced fumble of Burrow by rookie defensive end Chase Young shut down one Cincinnati scoring attempt, in the second quarter, and the costly misses of Cincinnati’s kicker, Randy Bullock, spared other scores.Washington comes back to beat Bengals, 20-9, after rookie QB Joe Burrow leaves with injury | Nicki Jhabvala | November 22, 2020 | Washington Post
Following the fumble, all hope for a comeback—and, by extension, for a competitive game—vanished.The Impossible Super Bowl Score: First 43-8 Football Game in a Century | Evin Demirel | February 3, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Getting the ball back after the fumble and running 83 yards for the game-winning touchdown is a little better.It’s Time for Obama to Go on Offense on Health Care | Michael Tomasky | November 19, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
But there were a whole lot of people crying “fumble” then, too.Anyone Who Counts Obama Out Hasn’t Reckoned on His Survival Skills | Joshua DuBois | November 17, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Fly, Ravens, Fly Baltimore capitalized on the James fumble, carving up the vaunted 49er defense with a mixture of run and pass.
However, they also break if you drop them, a bad gift for the fumble-fingered.
Shoeblossom heard his visitor utter an exclamation of annoyance, and fumble in his pocket for matches.The Gold Bat | P. G. Wodehouse
Seeing that she did not at once obey, Alfred actually began to fumble hastily with the straps that held her riding-skirt in place.Blazed Trail Stories | Stewart Edward White
Then he began to fumble and search through the pages of his book until he found what he wanted.In Search of the Unknown | Robert W. Chambers
Hyacinth saw him fumble with the fastening of the rickety gate, and at last open it slowly and with difficulty.Hyacinth | George A. Birmingham
He put his hands under his loose-hanging overcoat and began to fumble at a leather strap about his waist.The Escape of Mr. Trimm | Irvin S. Cobb
British Dictionary definitions for fumble
(intr; often foll by for or with) to grope about clumsily or blindly, esp in searching: he was fumbling in the dark for the money he had dropped
(intr; foll by at or with) to finger or play with, esp in an absent-minded way
to say or do hesitantly or awkwardly: he fumbled the introduction badly
to fail to catch or grasp (a ball, etc) cleanly
the act of fumbling
- fumbler, noun
- fumblingly, adverb
- fumblingness, noun
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