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blun·​der ˈblən-dər How to pronounce blunder (audio)
blundered; blundering ˈblən-d(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce blunder (audio)

intransitive verb

: to move unsteadily or confusedly
In their exhaustion they often blundered against each other …Norman Mailer
: to make a mistake through stupidity, ignorance, or carelessness
blundered by not acting sooner

transitive verb

: to utter stupidly, confusedly, or thoughtlessly
blundered an apology
: to make a stupid, careless, or thoughtless mistake in
blundering matters through ignorance …Rafael Sabatini
blunderer noun


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: a gross error or mistake resulting usually from stupidity, ignorance, or carelessness
a costly tactical blunder
Choose the Right Synonym for blunder

error, mistake, blunder, slip, lapse mean a departure from what is true, right, or proper.

error suggests the existence of a standard or guide and a straying from the right course through failure to make effective use of this.

procedural errors

mistake implies misconception or inadvertence and usually expresses less criticism than error.

dialed the wrong number by mistake

blunder regularly imputes stupidity or ignorance as a cause and connotes some degree of blame.

diplomatic blunders

slip stresses inadvertence or accident and applies especially to trivial but embarrassing mistakes.

a slip of the tongue

lapse stresses forgetfulness, weakness, or inattention as a cause.

a lapse in judgment

Examples of blunder in a Sentence

Verb We blundered along through the woods until we finally found the trail. Another skier blundered into his path. The government blundered by not acting sooner. Noun The accident was the result of a series of blunders. fixed a minor blunder in the advertising flyer
Recent Examples on the Web
But even in those sequences, who looks worse, the blundering imperialist power that was forced to ditch billions in equipment as part of an ignominious exit or the new junta that took a few months to learn how to use that equipment? Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Aug. 2023 Lured by the prospect of a relatively easy win, China could blunder into a much larger war, one that might go nuclear. Joel Wuthnow, Foreign Affairs, 24 Mar. 2023 Update: Bovine blunder: Punch no bull, but female calf; will be raised to be someone’s pet for life, sanctuary says Punchy arrived in a testy mood after an excitable day in urban America, said Chuck Lipscomb, a Mounted Unit officer. John H. Tucker, cleveland, 14 July 2023 To angle it just out of the reach of our blundering hands? Parul Sehgal, The New Yorker, 12 June 2023 Sandoval’s blundering attempt at rebranding as a lover mired in an irresistibly amorous, inevitably tragic liaison ultimately tested the limitations of his acting abilities. Vulture, 8 June 2023 Three years later in September 2006, a Canadian force riding in wheeled light armored vehicles blundered into a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province. David Axe, Forbes, 6 May 2023 Regime change appeared to be the goal of Russia’s invasion, but its forces were thwarted in their blundering attempt to sack the capital. John Hudson, Anchorage Daily News, 13 Apr. 2023 While Russian forces blundered, Wagner scored some modest but highly publicized wins, earning the group a spotlight on national television and Prigozhin a boost in influence. Mary Ilyushina, Anchorage Daily News, 6 May 2023
No more special teams blunders and dumb, lazy penalties. Globe Staff,, 9 Sep. 2023 The careless penalties don’t include the blunder that led to Indiana State’s only points of the night. Zion Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 9 Sep. 2023 The case has encountered a series of blunders since charges were announced in late January. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 9 Aug. 2023 The harshness of the pushback depends on the gravity of the blunder, how poorly or soundly the company manages the crisis, and how undecided consumers lean. Richard Torrenzano, Fortune, 7 Aug. 2023 That blunder happened a week after Meyers’s lateral found a wide-open Chandler Jones for the winning touchdown … the problem being, of course, that Jones plays for the Las Vegas Raiders. Globe Staff,, 1 Sep. 2023 Tigers right-hander Casey Mize (Tommy John surgery) to face live hitters 'pretty soon' In the fourth inning, after the Guardians' blunder on defense, Javier Báez ripped a single in his return from the bereavement list. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 19 Aug. 2023 Hence the fixation on Simpson’s blunders, as well as all the burping, farting, and foul smells that punctuate the show. Time, 18 Aug. 2023 The government has blamed previous anthem blunders on Google’s algorithm; the protest song’s Wikipedia page is the top result in a search for Hong Kong’s national anthem. Rachel Cheung, Fortune, 20 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'blunder.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English blundren, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse blunda to shut one's eyes, doze, Norwegian dialect blundra


noun derivative of blunder entry 1

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1681, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of blunder was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near blunder

Cite this Entry

“Blunder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
blun·​der ˈblən-dər How to pronounce blunder (audio)
blundered; blundering -d(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce blunder (audio)
: to move unsteadily or blindly
: to make a mistake (as through stupidity or carelessness)
: to say stupidly or thoughtlessly : blurt
blunderer noun


2 of 2 noun
: a bad or stupid mistake

More from Merriam-Webster on blunder

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