bun·​gle | \ ˈbəŋ-gəl How to pronounce bungle (audio) \
bungled; bungling\ ˈbəŋ-​g(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce bungling (audio) \

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 \ ˈbəŋ-​g(ə-​)lər How to pronounce bungler (audio) \ 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

The Broward Sheriff’s Office — the largest police agency in the state — has lost its accreditation after bungling two mass shootings. Susannah Bryan, sun-sentinel.com, "Broward Sheriff’s Office loses state accreditation after mishandling of school, airport shootings," 1 July 2019 Biden couldn’t have responded in a worse way, bungling his answer by not only defending busing but making a states-rights argument. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Kamala Harris just took Joe Biden to school.," 28 June 2019 Several have bungled grammar in their campaign materials. Ana Campoy, Quartz, "Democratic presidential candidates duel in Spanish, some better than others," 26 June 2019 The prime suspect: the course—the big, bad USGA would find a way to bungle even the most bungle-proof track, Pebble Beach, and the U.S. Open’s reputation would sink even lower. Daniel Rapaport, SI.com, "Jordan Spieth, Michael Greller and the New Player-Caddie Dynamic," 14 June 2019 Conservative pundits and historians have declared that Cronkite, who died in 2009, bungled the biggest story of his life by failing to see that the Viet Cong were clearly defeated in the Tet Offensive. Joel Achenbach, Washington Post, "Did the news media, led by Walter Cronkite, lose the war in Vietnam?," 25 May 2018 The move comes as government agencies, like FEMA, have been criticized for bungling contracts to rebuild the island and lagging in power restoration efforts. USA TODAY, "Trump to face chilly reception at G-7 summit," 8 June 2018 Not even an uber prospect (or three) lower on the depth chart, a bungling offensive coordinator, a shaky left tackle or an unreliable running game can stunt their rise to All-America and future NFL franchise savior status. Chris Johnson, SI.com, "The Future of College Football's Five-Star QBs Turned Transfers," 24 May 2018 Some Western officials have ridiculed the agency for bungling operations—the suspects in Skripal’s poisoning were caught on video surveillance cameras, and in other cases GRU agents made mistakes such as leaving behind evidence. Ann M. Simmons, WSJ, "Head of Russia’s GRU Spy Agency Dies After Illness," 22 Nov. 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

17 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce bungle (audio) \
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

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characterized by aphorism

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