Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

muddle

[muhd-l]
See more synonyms for muddle on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), mud·dled, mud·dling.
  1. to mix up in a confused or bungling manner; jumble.
  2. to cause to become mentally confused.
  3. to cause to become confused or stupid with or as if with an intoxicating drink.
  4. to make muddy or turbid, as water.
  5. to mix or stir (a cocktail, chocolate, etc.).
  6. Ceramics. to smooth (clay) by rubbing it on glass.
Show More
verb (used without object), mud·dled, mud·dling.
  1. to behave, proceed, or think in a confused or aimless fashion or with an air of improvisation: Some people just muddle along, waiting for their big break.
Show More
noun
  1. the state or condition of being muddled, especially a confused mental state.
  2. a confused, disordered, or embarrassing condition; mess.
Show More
Verb Phrases
  1. muddle through, to achieve a certain degree of success but without much skill, polish, experience, or direction: None of us knew much about staging a variety show, so we just had to muddle through.
Show More

Origin of muddle

1540–50; mud + -le; cognate with Middle Dutch moddelen to muddy
Related formsmud·dled·ness, mud·dle·ment, nounmud·dling·ly, adverbpre·mud·dle, noun, verb (used with object), pre·mud·dled, pre·mud·dling.un·mud·dled, adjective

Synonyms

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

disturbcomplicatediscombobulatebefuddleperturbclutterderangeflusterdilemmaperplexityjumbleplighttanglecomplicationawkwardnessdisarraychaoshazefogshambles

Examples from the Web for muddle

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "He can advise us and help us to put the muddle right," said Mrs. Ware.

    Viviette

    William J. Locke

  • Paris was going on—all that muddle and maze of worried people.

  • You merely come here because Mr. Kenyon is in a muddle about what I am going to do.

  • Philip would have a spasm of horror at the muddle he had made.

  • These books are only good to muddle your head and make you jumpy.

    Typhoon

    Joseph Conrad


British Dictionary definitions for muddle

muddle

verb (tr)
  1. (often foll by up) to mix up (objects, items, etc); jumble
  2. to confuse
  3. to make (water) muddy or turbulent
  4. US to mix or stir (alcoholic drinks, etc)
Show More
noun
  1. a state of physical or mental confusion
Show More
Derived Formsmuddled, adjectivemuddledness or muddlement, nounmuddling, adjective, nounmuddlingly, adverbmuddly, adjective

Word Origin

C16: perhaps from Middle Dutch moddelen to make muddy
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

Word Origin and History for muddle

v.

1590s, "destroy the clarity of" (a transferred sense); literal sense ("to bathe in mud") is from c.1600; perhaps frequentative formation from mud, or from Dutch moddelen "to make (water) muddy," from the same Proto-Germanic source. Sense of "to make muddy" is from 1670s; that of "make confused" first recorded 1680s. Meaning "to bungle" is from 1885. Related: Muddled; muddling.

Show More

n.

1818, from muddle (v.).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper