ad·​dle | \ ˈa-dᵊl How to pronounce addle (audio) \

Definition of addle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 of an egg : rotten
2 : confused


addled; addling\ ˈad-​liŋ How to pronounce addle (audio) , ˈa-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of addle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to throw into confusion : confound

intransitive verb

1 : to become rotten : spoil
2 : to become confused

Examples of addle in a Sentence

Adjective my brain grew more and more addle as I made my way through the tax instructions Verb It's a dangerous poison that's strong enough to addle the brain. Their brains were addled with fear.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Other leaders were very bad (looking at you, Anders Tegnell) but nobody else in rich countries matched Trump's combination of maliciousness and addle-brained incompetence. Ryan Cooper, The Week, 8 Nov. 2021 Soon enough, the foursome are in the back of that truck in an adventure that begins as a moneymaking scheme and promises to become a heroic journey into the heart of white supremacy at its most virulent and addle-minded. Ann Hornaday, Twin Cities, 25 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Instead, cocaine-addled Rafe (Drew Starkey) — brother to John B.’s girlfriend Sarah (Madelyn Cline) — is the true killer. Ariana Romero,, 20 Apr. 2020 Erich von Stroheim stars in this eerie low-budget thriller, as a vaudeville marksman whose aim is addled by lust for his young assistant (Mary Beth Hughes). Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 10 Apr. 2020 But many others saw the 82-year-old president -- addled by a stroke in 2013 and rarely seen in public -- as a front for shadowy coalition of military, intelligence and business leaders who effectively run the country. Washington Post, 18 Apr. 2019 Chicken on a Raft hoards your attention without brain-addling tricks. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, 1 Nov. 2019 Some intricacies lay beyond me—a hazy blur of literature about floating exchange rates and reserve currencies addled my brain. Zach Helfand, The New Yorker, 20 Aug. 2019 Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Destiny is soon taking part in one of Ramona’s fishing schemes, serving their clients a memory-addling cocktail of ketamine and MDMA and then stealthily palming and maxing out their credit cards. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 8 Sep. 2019 Our public servants should do what’s needed to bring the park into environmental balance and try to keep it that way by addling goose eggs every year. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, 10 July 2019 And now the web-addled among us can pay to have the internet taken away from us, in some form of retreat. Carrie Battan, Harper's BAZAAR, 26 July 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'addle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of addle


1682, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1652, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for addle


Middle English adel- (in adel eye "putrid egg"), attributive use of Old English adela "filth, filthy or foul-smelling place," going back to Germanic *adela-, *adelōn- (whence Middle Dutch ael "liquid manure," Middle Low German ādel, ādele, Middle High German —east Upper German— adel, regional Swedish adel, al "animal urine"), of obscure origin


probably back-formation from addled

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Cite this Entry

“Addle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for addle


ad·​dle | \ ˈa-dᵊl How to pronounce addle (audio) \
addled; addling

Kids Definition of addle

: to make or become confused She was addled by the many detours.

More from Merriam-Webster on addle

Nglish: Translation of addle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of addle for Arabic Speakers


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