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

blunder, bumble, flog [British], limp, lumber, plod, struggle, stumble, trudge

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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

But mostly, The Kitchen flounders, taking one page from Quentin Tarantino here and another from Martin Scorsese there, without ever finding its own sense of authorship. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "The Kitchen Wastes a Sizzling Idea and Terrific Ingredients," 9 Aug. 2019 The main course features restaurant specialties, such as sauteed flounder, chicken piccata, veal marsala and shrimp primavera. Chris Shelton, Houston Chronicle, "Roundups: Zammitt’s joins Houston Restaurant Weeks, new HR solutions firm debuts in Kingwood," 18 July 2019 Hundreds of other Bering Sea and Gulf boats area also targeting cod, flounders, rockfish, and myriad other whitefish. Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska’s commercial salmon season is off to a mixed start," 19 June 2019 Worryingly, about a third of the time, the halibut was actually raw olive flounder, which commonly contains parasites. Gemma Zoe Price, WSJ, "The Fish Industry Is Plagued by Poor Quality and Fraud. One Chef Is Working to Combat It," 19 July 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

From a business standpoint the league initially floundered, but a number of the league’s stars were more than content returning to the diamond. Ben Pickman, SI.com, "Remembering the Short-Lived, Ill-Fated Senior Professional Baseball Association," 28 Aug. 2019 VMware and Dell formed Pivotal in 2013 to concentrate on big data analytics, but the spinoff has floundered since going public in 2018 at $15 per share. Fortune, "Why Twitter Has Regrets About Killing Vine. Hint: It’s Called TikTok—Data Sheet," 15 Aug. 2019 But the deal floundered in Congress and was shunned in 2016 by Mr. Sanders and Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic candidates that year, as Mr. Trump began to outflank them on trade. Alan Rappeport, New York Times, "Echo Trump’s Tough Talk, or Lift Tariffs? Democrats Clash Over Trade," 31 July 2019 Mrs May’s government floundered when the Democratic Unionist Party, which props it up, joined hardline Tory backbenchers in refusing three times to endorse her Brexit deal. The Economist, "The Brecon by-election is a test for Britain’s next prime minister," 18 July 2019 But the campaign floundered and Perot was excluded from the presidential debates. Scott Martelle, latimes.com, "Ross Perot dead: Texas billionaire and former presidential candidate succumbs to leukemia at 89," 9 July 2019 That doesn’t mean other programs can’t thrive — Oregon is the prime example — Oregon is the only example, actually — but when the brand programs flounder, the conference gets sucked into the maw. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "NBA Draft preview: Pac-12 totals project to historical standard, but the path avoids Tucson and Westwood," 20 June 2019 But in today’s floundering market, attempting to unload sale contracts at a profit has become a risky strategy. Ruth Bloomfield, WSJ, "British Contract Flippers Stymied by Faltering London Market," 13 June 2019 Canzano has thoughts about Kelly and Florida State coach Willie Taggart, both floundering. oregonlive, "Why the UCLA Bruins should not give up the ship with Chip: Issues & Answers," 12 Sep. 2019

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

26 Aug 2019

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 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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