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 flounder (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 Lemon sole is a flounder, not a sole, and it is not necessarily prepared with lemon. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 June 2021 The new rules also increase the minimum size to keep a flounder to 16 inches, up an inch from the previous rule. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 28 June 2021 Turbot, a type of flounder found off Britain’s coast, became a subject of contention last year when disputes over fishing rights erupted amid Brexit negotiations. Washington Post, 11 June 2021 The menu is a mix of Muer traditions such as Dover sole and crab-stuffed Atlantic flounder and modern classics like salmon and filet mignon. Sue Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 14 June 2021 Then there is the coastal experience, a combination of fishing and hunting, available only at night - flounder gigging. Shannon Tompkins, Chron, 11 June 2021 And as always, fishing continues throughout the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea for a huge mix of Alaska pollock, cod, flounder and more. Anchorage Daily News, 10 May 2021 Favorites on the menu included Greek chicken, pork, shrimp Creole, grilled flounder and roast leg of lamb, along with steaks and seafood. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al, 7 Apr. 2021 If a deal isn’t reached by July, and the Cowboys flounder again in 2021, the team could choose to move forward without a cap hit like the Eagles recently bore in trading away Carson Wentz. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, 8 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Snatch Game is the obvious solution, but that only caters to a very specific type of comedically minded queen, leaving excellent entertainers like Trinity K. Bonet to flounder. Paul Mccallion, Vulture, 8 July 2021 However, when a business grows past the startup phase, some owners flounder. Carl Gould, Forbes, 24 June 2021 Presidents who do poorly in midterm elections often flounder because they are judged to have overreached. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 23 June 2021 As India’s pandemic death toll continues to rise sharply, the country’s vaccination drive has begun to flounder due to a lack of adequate supplies. Siladitya Ray, Forbes, 19 May 2021 But efforts to find a bipartisan path forward continue to flounder. Jonathan Weisman, New York Times, 4 June 2021 Bills long opposed by Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo and other beverage companies continue to flounder. Samantha Young, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Apr. 2021 German engineers expressed concern that the ship's knife-like hull could lead it to flounder or even capsize. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 17 Mar. 2021 After the half, the Warriors continued to flounder while Purcell Marian started getting shots to fall. Alex Harrison, The Enquirer, 6 Mar. 2021

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near flounder

flouncy

flounder

flounderingly

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Statistics for flounder

Last Updated

23 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flounder.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flounder. Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

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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 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on flounder

Nglish: Translation of flounder for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flounder for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about flounder

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