flounder

noun
floun·​der | \ˈflau̇n-dər \
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 \

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 & Antonyms for flounder

Synonyms: Verb

barge, clump, flog [British], galumph, lumber, lump, plod, pound, scuff, scuffle, shamble, shuffle, slog, slough, stamp, stomp, stumble, stump, tramp, tromp, trudge

Antonyms: Verb

breeze, coast, glide, slide, waltz, whisk

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Did You Know?

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

The researchers aren’t saying sea bass and flounder would no longer be found off areas such as the New Jersey coast, but their main habitats could move, forcing fishing operations to roam further, spending more time at sea and burning more gas. Frank Kummer, Philly.com, "N.J. flounder, sea bass pushed north because of climate change, say scientists," 18 May 2018 Cod, pollock, flounders and other whitefish are being hauled in from the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea. Laine Welch, Anchorage Daily News, "For Alaska sockeye salmon, record highs in Bristol Bay, record lows nearly everywhere else," 9 July 2018 The company has bet on appliance sales as rival Sears Holdings flounders. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "J.C. Penney stock plunges as cold weather zaps sales," 17 May 2018 Summertime highlights include Buffalo brussels sprouts with blue cheese mousse, bluefish cakes, and fish tacos made with Vineyard flounder. Alyssa Giacobbe, Town & Country, "T&C Travel Guide: The Best of Martha's Vineyard," 13 June 2018 When studying populations of a flounder-like North Sea fish called plaice in the early 1900’s, a man named Heincke noticed that older, larger fish are found deeper in the water than younger, smaller fish. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Ecological “law” turns out to just be the result of us fishing," 8 June 2018 That word was originally used to describe an early GMO tomato variety that contained a flounder gene. Kevin Begos, Smithsonian, "The Quest to Grow the First Great American Wine Grape," 6 June 2018 But Virak Uy, a Cambodian refugee who is the director of the college’s new Program for Asian American Student Advancement, had no intention of letting her flounder. Linda K. Wertheimer, New York Times, "At Middlesex Community College, Extra Help for Asian Students," 5 June 2018 The story’s momentum flounders occasionally, with a little too much of Bob spinning in circles waiting on Livy and a couple of wooden plot machinations, but the ending is pure enchantment. Karen Valby, New York Times, "Turning Myths and Fairy Tales on Their Heads," 4 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Tite's arrival in 2016 signalled the beginning of a new dawn for the Canarinho after two years floundering on the wayside under former manager Dunga. SI.com, "2018 FIFA World Cup Team Preview: Analysing Brazil's Chances at the Tournament," 3 June 2018 In a comeback story for the ages last season, my USA TODAY team was floundering in last place in June, but stormed back into contention just as J.D. Martinez was traded to Arizona. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "LABR AL, NL owners prepare to set the bar for 2018 fantasy baseball auctions," 3 Mar. 2018 And just as the PRI predicted, the two National Action presidents floundered, getting their initiatives through Congress only with the help of the PRI, which retook the presidency in 2012. Mark Stevenson, The Seattle Times, "Mexico’s ruling party seeks way forward after drubbing," 3 July 2018 Corpus Christi: Black drum, flounder, redfish, sheepshead and speckled trout are some of the most plentiful fish found in the area. Jerry Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Bexar County is home to 14 community fishing lakes," 11 June 2018 These tender flounder fillets, seasoned with lemon slices and crushed croutons, make for a satisfying under-200 calorie meal. 1. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Zesty Lemon-Herb Baked Flounder," 24 Feb. 2017 However, that effort floundered, until finally, in 2014, facing a lawsuit from safety advocates, transportation officials announced that backup cameras would be required in all passenger vehicles starting May 1. Jaclyn Cosgrove, chicagotribune.com, "Backup camera in every new car puts safety at forefront," 14 May 2018 However, that effort floundered, until finally, in 2014, facing a lawsuit from safety advocates, transportation officials announced that backup cameras would be required in all passenger vehicles starting this week. Jaclyn Cosgrove, latimes.com, "Want a car with a backup camera? Now they’re not just for pricier models, thanks to federal mandate," 3 May 2018 Viacom, meanwhile, floundered under its former CEO, Philippe Dauman, losing top talent and enduring steep ratings declines at its networks. The Economist, "Viacom rejects a merger with CBS," 5 Apr. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near flounder

FLOTUS

flounce

flouncing

flounder

flounderingly

flour

flour beetle

Statistics for flounder

Last Updated

23 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flounder

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

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More Definitions for flounder

flounder

noun

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 \

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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