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

Keep scrolling for more

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 The platform's newest buddy cop flick puts a unique spin on the formula, partnering a bumbling police officer with a child. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "Netflix’s Coffee & Kareem Is The Odd Buddy Cop Movie We Didn’t Know We Needed," 24 Mar. 2020 Trump has mocked the Democrats for their bumbling rollout at the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3, when a glitchy vote-counting app snarled everything, including the results, the careers of some local politicos and the party’s reputation. Washington Post, "In Las Vegas, nervous Democrats have no poker face," 21 Feb. 2020 Even as Wittes is diminishing the horrors of the Holocaust for political gain with his bumbling analogies, a bunch of high-profile Americans were speaking out about Trump actions. David Harsanyi, National Review, "Being Fired by Trump Does Not Make You a Holocaust Victim," 10 Feb. 2020 The bumbling group from Texas found that to be true as well. Matt Wyatt, ExpressNews.com, "Pheasant paradise in Kansas," 2 Jan. 2020 The Eagles have lost three straight, but thanks to the equally bumbling Dallas Cowboys, the Eagles remain just a game out of first place in the NFC East. oregonlive, "Philadelphia Eagles vs New York Giants: Monday Night Football live score updates, TV channel, how to watch free live stream online," 9 Dec. 2019 Beneath the bumbling exterior lies a ruthless, power-seeking machine. The Economist, "Britain’s Tories are the world’s most successful party. Here’s why," 18 Dec. 2019 But the season began with a bumbling loss to Wyoming and never really got on track, and the Tigers were forced to beat Arkansas just to become bowl-eligible. Dave Skretta, Arkansas Online, "Missouri fires Barry Odom day following win at Arkansas," 30 Nov. 2019 Mada Masr has a leftist bent, and many of its journalists sharply criticised the Brotherhood during its bumbling year in power. The Economist, "The authorities in Egypt raid Mada Masr—and reveal their fears," 28 Nov. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of bumbling

1660, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bumbling

Time Traveler for bumbling

Time Traveler

The first known use of bumbling was in 1660

See more words from the same year

Statistics for bumbling

Cite this Entry

“Bumbling.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bumbling. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on bumbling

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bumbling

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!