bun·​gle | \ˈbəŋ-gəl \
bungled; bungling\ˈbəŋ-​g(ə-​)liŋ \

Definition of bungle 

intransitive verb

: to act or work clumsily and awkwardly bungled badly in the campaign

transitive verb

: mishandle, botch bungle a job bungled the investigation

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Other Words from bungle

bungle noun
bungler \-​g(ə-​)lər \ noun

Examples of bungle in a Sentence

The government bungled badly in planning the campaign. bungled the job the first time she tried to do it

Recent Examples on the Web

After watching the Department of Veterans Affairs bungle the treatment of the nation’s warriors, do Americans want their personal health decisions made by the unwieldy, unresponsive federal government? Karl Rove, WSJ, "Stopping the Socialist Resurgence," 28 Nov. 2018 Sprout's shareholders later sued Valeant over claims the company bungled the pill's marketing. Cynthia Koons, chicagotribune.com, "Drugmaker revives female libido pill Addyi, at half the price," 11 June 2018 The health organization was accused of bungling its response to the earlier West Africa outbreak –the biggest Ebola outbreak in history which resulted in more than 11,000 deaths. Saleh Mwanamilongo, USA TODAY, "Congo to begin vaccinating against Ebola on Monday," 20 May 2018 The bad news is that their appearances together are doing precious little to promote the book, because Bill Clinton can't stop bungling questions about Monica Lewinsky and the #MeToo movement in spectacular fashion. Jay Willis, GQ, "Bill Clinton Still Doesn't Get It," 6 June 2018 According to news reports, Asemani’s former patients filed multiple civil suits against him for botched dental procedures that ranged from removing three good teeth to a root canal bungled so badly that the patient bled for two weeks. Washington Post, "As he graduates from Wharton, Maryland boy thinks of tragedy," 25 May 2018 His attorneys, in court hearings and filings, have painted a picture of an incompetent prosecutor who rather than working with police to investigate Greitens hired a private investigator who bungled the probe, hid evidence and lied to the court. NBC News, "Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens charged with a second felony, accused of misusing a charity donor list," 21 Apr. 2018 The lawyer also contacted the state’s attorney, who would eventually conclude that the officers bungled the case, and would order the department to assign two new, competent detectives to pursue a serious investigation of the crime. Ruth Padawer, New York Times, "Should Statutes of Limitations for Rape Be Abolished?," 19 June 2018 Two big foreign policy stories broke Tuesday night: U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley effectively said the White House bungled its announcement of new Russia sanctions. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "The Nikki Haley mess, and what it says about the Trump-Kim Jong Un summit," 18 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bungle.' 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 bungle

1530, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for bungle

perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Icelandic banga to hammer

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Dictionary Entries near bungle


bung head






Statistics for bungle

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bungle

The first known use of bungle was in 1530

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English Language Learners Definition of bungle

: to make mistakes in doing (something) : to not do (something) well or successfully


bun·​gle | \ˈbəŋ-gəl \
bungled; bungling

Kids Definition of bungle

: to act, do, make, or work badly bungled the job

Other Words from bungle

bungler noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on bungle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bungle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bungle

Spanish Central: Translation of bungle

Nglish: Translation of bungle for Spanish Speakers

Comments on bungle

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


living or existing for a long time

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