[ fuhm-buhl ]
See synonyms for: fumblefumblingfumblerfumblingly on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object),fum·bled, fum·bling.
  1. to feel or grope about clumsily: She fumbled in her purse for the keys.

  2. Sports. to fumble the ball.

verb (used with object),fum·bled, fum·bling.
  1. to make, handle, etc., clumsily or inefficiently: to fumble an attempt; He fumbled his way through the crowded room.

  2. Sports. to fail to hold or maintain hold on (a ball) after having touched it or carried it.

  1. the act of fumbling: We completed the difficult experiment without a fumble.

  2. Sports. an act or instance of fumbling the ball.

Origin of fumble

1500–10; akin to Norwegian, Swedish fumla,Middle Low German fummeln to grope, fumble

Other words for fumble

Other words from fumble

  • 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

Words Nearby fumble

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use fumble in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fumble


/ (ˈfʌmbəl) /

  1. (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

  2. (intr; foll by at or with) to finger or play with, esp in an absent-minded way

  1. to say or do hesitantly or awkwardly: he fumbled the introduction badly

  2. to fail to catch or grasp (a ball, etc) cleanly

  1. the act of fumbling

Origin of fumble

C16: probably of Scandinavian origin; related to Swedish fumla

Derived forms of fumble

  • 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