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

Vic is gruff and bumbling and often appears almost literally as a bull in a china shop. Jake Coyle, Detroit Free Press, "Buddy comedy ‘Stuber’ runs on fumes," 11 July 2019 The musical comedy is filled with zany pirates, zombie ships, mermaids and the plot revolves around a bumbling actor and his crew getting shanghaied by the terror of the high seas. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Newcomers group installs new officers," 10 July 2019 Mr Johnson is the favourite, but his bumbling style seems odd at a time of crisis. The Economist, "Politics this week," 29 June 2019 And his bumbling response to the Middle East likely won’t inspire confidence in his ability to be commander-in-chief. cleveland.com, "Tim Ryan’s coveted moment eludes him at first Democratic debate: analysis," 26 June 2019 What unfolded over the next 12 hours transformed a bumbling operation into a historic fiasco. Megan Rose, ProPublica, "Trump Keeps Talking About the Last Military Standoff With Iran — Here’s What Really Happened," 24 June 2019 In the February 22, 1966, edition of National Review, William F. Buckley Jr. decried a widespread political confusion among American Catholics that had led to the public ascendance of such bumbling radicals as the Jesuit Daniel Berrigan. Declan Leary, National Review, "Catholics vs. Libertarians in the 1960s," 11 June 2019 His lifelong project, in many ways, is an attempt to reconcile those two people: the penniless, bumbling foreigner who speaks atrocious English, and the cocksure Sarajevan who was once intelligent and cool and desirable—who was somebody. Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, "Aleksandar Hemon’s Lost Eden," 6 June 2019 The 249 episodes followed Sheriff Andy Taylor (Griffith), his bumbling deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts), son Opie (Ronnie Howard) and the lovable Aunt Bea (Frances Bavier). Fox News, "8 things you didn't know about 'The Andy Griffith Show'," 29 Aug. 2017

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

1660, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near bumbling







bum check

Statistics for bumbling

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for bumbling

The first known use of bumbling was in 1660

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Comments on bumbling

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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