- to mix up in a confused or bungling manner; jumble.
- to cause to become mentally confused.
- to cause to become confused or stupid with or as if with an intoxicating drink.
- to make muddy or turbid, as water.
- to mix or stir (a cocktail, chocolate, etc.).
- Ceramics. to smooth (clay) by rubbing it on glass.
- 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.
- the state or condition of being muddled, especially a confused mental state.
- a confused, disordered, or embarrassing condition; mess.
- 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.
Origin of muddle
SynonymsSee more synonyms for muddle on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for muddled
Her own muddled feelings of confusion, shame, and fear are what make the essay great and what make the essay her story.The Right's Rape Trolls vs. Lena Dunham
December 10, 2014
This obviously closed off some important avenues of inquiry, but I guess we muddled through.American Poet: Remembering Lou Reed
October 28, 2013
The black, starless sky creeps over the muddled sunset that stains the waves purple before melting away.I Can’t Shake Hawaii: An Ode to Returning to Places You’ve Been Before
Debra A. Klein
October 7, 2013
That was clear and pretty popular, whereas today, the GOP message is muddled and unpopular.Washington’s Other Car Crash: Obama vs. the Boehner Rule
October 4, 2013
He lacked basic political skills, and his unforced errors and muddled messaging unnecessarily antagonized conservatives.Jon Huntsman Holds His Ground as Republicans Come Around to His Views
April 21, 2013
Their own thinking was so muddled, their views of life so out of gear.The Harbor
No one has ever told what you are—muddled, criminally muddled.Howards End
E. M. Forster
That morning, in his glass cage, he muddled his columns several times.The Trimming of Goosie
Ward wished devoutly that he could clear his thoughts; they were muddled.Joan of Arc of the North Woods
Inside his muddled head, however, he was chuckling to himself.Lost Face
- (often foll by up) to mix up (objects, items, etc); jumble
- to confuse
- to make (water) muddy or turbulent
- US to mix or stir (alcoholic drinks, etc)
- a state of physical or mental confusion
Word Origin and History for muddled
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.
1818, from muddle (v.).