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flus·​ter ˈflə-stər How to pronounce fluster (audio)
flustered; flustering ˈflə-st(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce fluster (audio)

transitive verb

: to put into a state of agitated confusion : upset
The speaker was obviously flustered by the interruption.
"Now don't overexcite yourself, Grandpa," Mrs. Bucket said. "And don't fluster poor Charlie. We must all try to keep very calm."Roald Dahl
: to make tipsy
There is much that is, in truth, dishonest even in honest play. A man who can keep himself sober after dinner plays [cards] with one who flusters himself with drink.Anthony Trollope


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: a state of agitated confusion
They had been talking about it for days, and when they were getting ready to go out they were all in a fluster.Louise Fitzhugh
Choose the Right Synonym for fluster

discompose, disquiet, disturb, perturb, agitate, upset, fluster mean to destroy capacity for collected thought or decisive action.

discompose implies some degree of loss of self-control or self-confidence especially through emotional stress.

discomposed by the loss of his beloved wife

disquiet suggests loss of sense of security or peace of mind.

the disquieting news of factories closing

disturb implies interference with one's mental processes caused by worry, perplexity, or interruption.

the discrepancy in accounts disturbed me

perturb implies deep disturbance of mind and emotions.

perturbed by her husband's strange behavior

agitate suggests obvious external signs of nervous or emotional excitement.

in his agitated state we could see he was unable to work

upset implies the disturbance of normal or habitual functioning by disappointment, distress, or grief.

the family's constant bickering upsets the youngest child

fluster suggests bewildered agitation.

his declaration of love completely flustered her

Examples of fluster in a Sentence

Verb The interruption flustered the speaker. Some speakers fluster more easily than others. Noun all the yelling on the bus put the driver in a fluster there was a palpable fluster in the audience when I asked my awkward question
Recent Examples on the Web
In a 116-104 win against the Thunder, who fell to No. 2 in the Western Conference with the loss, the Lakers were dominant, flustering Oklahoma City for all bit the smallest stretches. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 5 Mar. 2024 That discipline started on the defensive side, where Parkville played an aggressive brand of team defense, flustering the normally strong Franklin offense. Aidan Thomas, Baltimore Sun, 27 Jan. 2024 Working with cats might fluster other actors, but not McKinnon. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 30 Jan. 2024 Both women were chastised by White House officials and later ignored by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was often flustered by their questions about civil rights. Erica L. Green, New York Times, 21 Jan. 2024 The Falcons lack a great pass rush but might not need one to fluster Vikings rookie QB Jaren Hall, making his debut. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, 2 Nov. 2023 Gauff pledged ahead of her second-round match not to be flustered by her opponent this time, and to ignore age — her own and Andreeva’s. Lola Fadulu, New York Times, 30 Aug. 2023 Paul Mescal is just like us: flustered by Pedro Pascal! Bailey Richards, Peoplemag, 28 Aug. 2023 Eighteen months ago, Sajid was flustered by the influx of Chinese prospectors. Gerry Shih, Washington Post, 24 May 2023
The 6-1, 220-pounder repeatedly flusters defenses by escaping out of would-be sacks and delivering seemingly impossible throws. Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA TODAY, 30 Apr. 2023 Robinson could well be the missing Lombardi piece here, not to mention a lethal complement to newly minted QB Jalen Hurts – a combo that could truly fluster defenses. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 24 Apr. 2023 Still, Robinson is not merely a bell-cow ball carrier, as the Doak Walker Award winner's electric ability to shake defenders in tight quarters or the open field and fluster defenses as a receiver position him as one of this draft's most dynamic threats. Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA TODAY, 11 Jan. 2023 There’s cringe comedy in their fluster opposite her flamboyant imbecility. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, 9 Feb. 2023 In the 4 1/2 games Chubb missed, the Browns had their quarterback win a game (Bengals), needed last-second heroics from Odell Beckham Jr. in Dallas, and had the defense fluster Colts quarterback Phillip Rivers into two interceptions and a safety. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, 12 Nov. 2020 Some believe the team uses the roof for competitive advantages -- closed to trap and amplify crowd noise or open to fluster opposing quarterbacks and kickers. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, 26 Sep. 2020 Bayard’s book has the luster of Abraham Lincoln as a protagonist and the fluster of the 16th president’s ambiguous sexuality at its heart. Bethanne Patrick, Washington Post, 11 June 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fluster.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb and Noun

probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Icelandic flaustur hurry

First Known Use


1604, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1712, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fluster was in 1604

Dictionary Entries Near fluster

Cite this Entry

“Fluster.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fluster. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


flustered; flustering
: to make nervous and unsure : upset
flustered by their rudeness
fluster noun

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