flounder

noun
floun·​der | \ ˈflau̇n-dər How to pronounce flounder (audio) \
plural flounder or flounders

Definition of flounder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: flatfish especially : any of various marine fishes (families Pleuronectidae, Paralichthyidae, and Bothidae) that include important food fishes

flounder

verb
floundered; floundering\ ˈflau̇n-​d(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce floundering (audio) \

Definition of flounder (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to struggle to move or obtain footing : thrash about wildly The poor horse was floundering in the mud.
2 : to proceed or act clumsily or ineffectually the normally surefooted governor floundered a moment like a prize pupil caught unpreparedTime

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Synonyms for flounder

Synonyms: Verb

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Verb

Despite the fact that flounder is a relatively common English verb, its origins in the language remain obscure. It is thought that it may be an alteration of an older verb, founder. To founder is to become disabled, to give way or collapse, or to come to grief or to fail. In the case of a waterborne vessel, to founder is to sink. The oldest of these senses of founder, "to become disabled," was also used, particularly in reference to a horse and its rider, for the act of stumbling violently or collapsing. It may have been this sense of founder that later appeared in altered form as flounder in the sense of "to stumble."

Examples of flounder in a Sentence

Verb The horses were floundering through the deep snow. He was floundering around in the pool like an amateur. After watching me flounder for a few minutes, my instructor took over.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Texas is not alone in dealing with flounder issues. Matt Wyatt, ExpressNews.com, "Texas flounder regulations approved; season closure delayed a year," 23 May 2020 Workers with the Marine Resources Division are tending to thousands of larval flounder at a state hatchery in Gulf Shores, according to a news release from the agency. USA TODAY, "In vitro cheetahs, Devils Tower, ‘SMART Marina’: News from around our 50 states," 26 Feb. 2020 Fishing for pollock, cod, mackerel, perch, flounders and many other whitefish continues in regions of the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea. Anchorage Daily News, "Fake-seafood producers are pushing back against laws requiring accurate labeling," 17 Mar. 2020 The state decreased bag limits for the fish this year and closed the season for the whole month of November to protect the flounder that were migrating through coastal bays on their way to winter spawning grounds. USA TODAY, "In vitro cheetahs, Devils Tower, ‘SMART Marina’: News from around our 50 states," 26 Feb. 2020 Those fish would help add to a population of southern flounder that’s been falling since 2008. USA TODAY, "In vitro cheetahs, Devils Tower, ‘SMART Marina’: News from around our 50 states," 26 Feb. 2020 While weighing the economic impact the changes would have on many, wildlife officials believe a closure is the best bet for protecting spawning flounder. Matt Wyatt, ExpressNews.com, "Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting canceled, action items moved to May 21," 19 Mar. 2020 If energy flounders, manufacturing and business investment are almost certain to sink with it, akin to what happened in 2015 and early 2016. Heather Long, Washington Post, "The U.S. may already be in a recession, and it could linger even after the covid-19 crisis is over," 13 Mar. 2020 Since 1984, Butch Findley, 72, has been guiding fishermen out of Port A to seek flounder, red fish and trout in the bays, and cobia, tuna, red snapper and bill fish in the open gulf. John Maccormack, San Antonio Express-News, "Battle of Port 'A'," 12 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Hwaji Shin, who teaches sociology at the University of San Francisco, expressed concern about college employees feeling financial pressure to work in risky conditions, especially at a time of budget cuts prompted by the floundering economy. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "The next 100 days: How the coronavirus will continue to change your life at home, at work, at school and beyond," 27 May 2020 These are the first of a wave of deep cuts expected to be announced by some of the biggest players in global travel this week, as an already floundering industry faces many more months of difficulty. Natasha Frost, Quartz, "Thousands of jobs have been cut at the world’s biggest travel companies, and it’s only Tuesday," 5 May 2020 But he was hired by the floundering San Diego Chargers as their general manager in February 1971, replacing Sid Gillman, who remained as head coach. Richard Goldstein, BostonGlobe.com, "Harland Svare, 89, Giants linebacker and young head coach," 29 Apr. 2020 The Dow Jones Industrial Average staged its best two-week performance since the 1930s, a dramatic rebound that has left many investors with a confounding reality: soaring share prices and a floundering economy. Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, "The Stock Market Is Ignoring the Economy," 17 Apr. 2020 Vietnamese officials said that the Chinese Coast Guard ship seized the floundering eight-man crew after stopping two other fishing vessels from rescuing them from the water. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "Vietnam charges China with sinking one of its fishing vessels in South China Sea," 3 Apr. 2020 The two automakers teamed up two decades ago following Renault’s bid to save then-floundering Nissan. NBC News, "Nissan hits former Chairman Carlos Ghosn with $91 million lawsuit," 12 Feb. 2020 The push to have more successful charter networks take over floundering campuses reflects a philosophy among local charter leaders that displacing students from a low-performing school should be a last resort. Washington Post, "D.C.’s two biggest charter networks are growing. But how big is too big?," 9 Feb. 2020 The Tams, renamed the Sounds, floundered further, and Mr. Storen left the league in 1975. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, "Mike Storen, 84, Dies; Ran a Basketball League and Three Teams," 13 May 2020

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for flounder

Noun

Middle English, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian flundra flounder

Verb

probably alteration of founder

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Time Traveler for flounder

Time Traveler

The first known use of flounder was in the 15th century

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Statistics for flounder

Last Updated

2 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flounder.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flounder. Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for flounder

flounder

noun
How to pronounce flounder (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of flounder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a type of fish that has a flat body and that is eaten as food

flounder

verb

English Language Learners Definition of flounder (Entry 2 of 2)

: to move in an awkward way with a lot of difficulty and effort
: to be unsure about what to do or say
: to have a lot of problems and difficulties

flounder

noun
floun·​der | \ ˈflau̇n-dər How to pronounce flounder (audio) \

Kids Definition of flounder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a flatfish used for food

flounder

verb
floundered; floundering

Kids Definition of flounder (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to struggle to move or get footing The horses were floundering in the mud.
2 : to behave or do something in a clumsy way I floundered through the speech.

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