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

Definition of fluster

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : 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
2 : 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



Definition of fluster (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

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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


The interruption flustered the speaker. Some speakers fluster more easily than others.


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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The rookie produced 5 1/3 in-control innings, continually flustering the Rockies with runners on base and allowing the Angels to earn a split of this two-game series. Jeff Miller, latimes.com, "Angels snap Rockies' six-game winning streak in 8-0 victory," 10 May 2018 Moritz Wagner had 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead Michigan, and also helped to fluster Wisconsin star Ethan Happ in the first half. Jason Mcmahon, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan basketball answers Wisconsin's 2nd-half runs for 83-72 win," 11 Feb. 2018 The Bulldogs were flustered by long-armed defenders on the perimeter and at the rim. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "Slipping away? Butler testing NCAA tournament bubble with loss to last-place St. John's," 28 Feb. 2018 Switching to zone midway into the opening half, the Eagles' defense flustered the Seminoles, causing rushed shots from the outside and many contested misses in the lane. USA TODAY, "Bowman's 19 points, 13 rebounds leads BC past Florida State," 15 Jan. 2018 If an Incredibles 3 ever gets made or the franchise gets a spinoff, an adolescent Jack-Jack managing his powers himself, rather than flustering his babysitters, could be a great basis for the Parrs’ next story. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Here are all of Jack-Jack’s powers in the Incredibles 2," 16 June 2018 The Huskies owned the first half against the Wildcats, who were clearly flustered by UW’s zone. Matt Calkins, The Seattle Times, "Huskies relaunch program with win over Arizona," 3 Feb. 2018 His many attempts to bring the antagonists together in Yemen were repeatedly flustered. Rick Gladstone, New York Times, "U.N. Mediator for Yemen Conflict Leaving Post," 22 Jan. 2018 Close but nothing more was all the Angels could produce in another tight, flustering loss to Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros. Jeff Miller, latimes.com, "Justin Verlander stifles two late threats and shuts down the Angels," 17 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The fluster of lies Hanks’ Falstaff employs as a shield against rejection is touchingly pulled off. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "Tom Hanks, Hamish Linklater and a 'Henry IV' worthy of applause," 10 June 2018 Fromm has shown the poise of a veteran all season, but Saban's defenses have been known to fluster even experienced quarterbacks and Fitzpatrick is an extension of Saban on the field. Ralph D. Russo, Houston Chronicle, "Championship matchups: Jalen Hurts vs. Roquan Smith; Jake Fromm vs. Minkah Fitzpatrick," 5 Jan. 2018 Marcel Marceau, Paul Anka, every French singer since Piaf, mostly recruited by his impossible-to-fluster translator and friend Yanou Collart. Peter Mikelbank, PEOPLE.com, "My Wild Days with Jerry Lewis with France: 'He Was a Whirlwind Who Could Be a World-Class Pain'," 21 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fluster.' 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 fluster


1604, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1712, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fluster

Verb and Noun

probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Icelandic flaustur hurry

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Learn More about fluster

Dictionary Entries near fluster

flush valve







Statistics for fluster

Last Updated

22 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fluster

The first known use of fluster was in 1604

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More Definitions for fluster



English Language Learners Definition of fluster

: to make (someone) nervous and confused


flus·​ter | \ ˈflə-stər How to pronounce fluster (audio) \
flustered; flustering

Kids Definition of fluster

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make nervous and confused : upset



Kids Definition of fluster (Entry 2 of 2)

: a state of nervous confusion … when they were getting ready to go out they were all in a fluster.— Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy

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More from Merriam-Webster on fluster

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fluster

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fluster

Spanish Central: Translation of fluster

Nglish: Translation of fluster for Spanish Speakers

Comments on fluster

What made you want to look up fluster? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a tendency to relapse

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