bum·​bling ˈbəm-b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce bumbling (audio)
: 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
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 Led by the bumbling Sarge and the cynical Church, the soldiers navigate absurd situations and misunderstandings with a mix of humor and sci-fi elements. Todd Spangler, Variety, 28 Mar. 2024 His bumbling, glasses-nudging Clark Kent was an exquisite screwball-comedy creation, and his Superman zipped through the skies with sublime aerodynamic sexiness. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 23 Jan. 2024 Rufo was silent about Kennedy’s thin resume or his bumbling efforts to lead the state’s flagship university system. The Denver Post Editorial Board, The Denver Post, 19 Jan. 2024 Set in 1953 after the titular dictator’s passing, the film revels in the chaotic, messy, bumbling power struggle that ensues among figures like Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) and Georgy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor). Debby Wolfinsohn, EW.com, 4 Feb. 2024 With his zeal for Jesus sweaters and his living-room church organ, Bernie plays the bumbling househusband to his successful businesswoman wife Eva (Alicia Silverstone), and father to his diligent scientist son Adam (Walt Klink) and moody shut-in daughter Sarah (Gaite Jansen). Siddhant Adlakha, Variety, 23 Jan. 2024 Who is Zellner’s aggressive and bumbling Sasquatch to the other three? Humiliated and still horny, Zellner’s Sasquatch lumbers through the forest. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Jan. 2024 Finally, the entrepreneur encountered fresh obstacles thrown in his path by Germany’s fractious and bumbling tripartite coalition in Berlin. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 5 Jan. 2024 But there is something to be said for winning, regardless of how many mistakes a team makes against a bumbling opponent. Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times, 1 Jan. 2024

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

Word History

First Known Use

1660, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bumbling was in 1660

Dictionary Entries Near bumbling

Cite this Entry

“Bumbling.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bumbling. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

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