bum·​bling | \ ˈbəm-b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce bumbling (audio) \

Definition of bumbling

: awkwardly blundering or faltering a bumbling speaker : prone to or marked by foolish mistakes a bumbling attempt to fix the problem … many Americans see the F.D.A. as bumbling and inefficient …— Herbert Burkholz

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Other Words from bumbling

bumblingly adverb
… none of them truly wants him in her home while he tries, bumblingly, to get his act together … — Laura Collins-Hughes

Examples of bumbling in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In a city that was swarming with highly seasoned players—wolves in sheep’s clothing who would willingly steal your heart and/or your money—my date was a bumbling amateur hustler who couldn’t charm his way out of a paper bag. Chioma Nnadi, Vogue, "After 10 Years of Dating in New York, This Is What I’ve Learned," 11 Feb. 2019 Pegg plays a cop on the trail of a serial killer beheading the people of a quiet English town; Frost, his bumbling sidekick. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 28 Best Halloween Movies on Netflix," 11 Oct. 2018 Weinberg said Abscam was a bumbling investigation that nearly went off the rails. Harrison Smith, latimes.com, "Mel Weinberg, con artist at center of Abscam sting that landed U.S. politicians in prison, dies at 93," 9 June 2018 Privacy - Terms The comedic and bumbling twists and turn, lead the audience through a whirlwind of mistaken identities and surprising emotional shifts. The Heart Of America Shakespeare Festival, kansascity, "Heart of America Shakespeare Festival More than a Performance in the Park (Sponsored)," 18 June 2018 But what’s true for a bumbling non-actor is also true for anyone striving to make authentic and inclusive theater: Listening harder is a really good start. James Hebert, sandiegouniontribune.com, "For theater community, finding ways to reflect societal diversity onstage is more urgent than ever," 13 July 2018 To the world beyond the borders of the kingdom his driving edict appears ludicrous, a bumbling attempt to provide a false physiological basis to a ban imposed by humans. Rafia Zakaria, The New Republic, "Driving Toward Change," 23 June 2018 Now he’s being touted as the potential savior for a bumbling offense that finished 101st nationally in yards per play last season. Chris Johnson And Eric Single, SI.com, "Top 100 College Football Players of 2018: Nos. 100–51," 18 June 2018 Historians began revising, some time ago, the earlier judgments of Grant as an unimaginative, bloody-minded general and bumbling president. New York Times, "John McCain: By the Book," 3 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of bumbling

1886, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near bumbling







bum check

Statistics for bumbling

Last Updated

26 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for bumbling

The first known use of bumbling was in 1886

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Comments on bumbling

What made you want to look up bumbling? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of returning to life

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