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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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 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 Overfishing was a leading cause of the flounder’s demise, but other factors also played a role. Capt. John Mcmurray, Field & Stream, "10 Great East Coast Fisheries That No Longer Exist," 10 Feb. 2020 In this case, flounder is steamed with shiitake mushrooms, red onion, thin asparagus and a touch of white wine for a light springtime feast. NBC News, "8 easy, fuss free ways to cook fish at home," 15 Mar. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Musk's disagreement with local officials comes amid an intense national debate over when to reopen the economy as businesses flounder and unemployment claims rise. NBC News, "Elon Musk defies local orders, reopens Tesla factory anyway," 11 May 2020 Bob Evans: The chain's new seafood platter includes fried shrimp, golden clam strips and crispy flounder fillets and is served with both tartar and cocktail sauces, choice of two sides and rolls. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Chick-fil-A, Arby's, Wendy's, McDonald's and more serve up fish sandwiches, specials for Lent," 26 Feb. 2020 Inshore, they are used for just about everything including snook, trout, stripers, tarpon, redfish, flounder and more. Bob Mcnally, Field & Stream, "The Ultimate Guide to Catching and Keeping Saltwater Live Bait," 2 Jan. 2020 Ryan left, Ditka’s teams floundered in the playoffs, and he was fired after a 5-11 season in 1992. The Si Staff, SI.com, "100 Figures Who Shaped the NFL’s First Century," 28 Aug. 2019 Would a squad consisting of largely the same players which floundered at the Rio Olympics be able to defend its title? Aimee Lewis, CNN, "Women's World Cup: Record-breaking feats, empty seats -- the story so far," 21 June 2019 These businesses would flounder if the Wyden-Grassley bill became law. Karen Kerrigan, Fortune, "Prescription drug costs are spiraling, but price controls are the wrong solution," 18 Apr. 2020 The 5-9, 178-pound big-play threat can get open with ease, and his acceleration will flounder any slot cornerback overly reliant on short-area quickness. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "NFL draft 2020: After free agency losses, Dallas Cowboys could look to reload at key positions," 4 Apr. 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

5 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flounder.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flounder. Accessed 31 May. 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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