fumble

verb
fum·​ble | \ ˈfəm-bəl How to pronounce fumble (audio) \
fumbled; fumbling\ ˈfəm-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce fumbling (audio) \

Definition of fumble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to grope for or handle something clumsily or aimlessly
b : to make awkward attempts to do or find something fumbled in his pocket for a coin
c : to search by trial and error
d : blunder
2 : to feel one's way or move awkwardly
3a : to drop or juggle or fail to play cleanly a grounder
b : to lose hold of a football while handling or running with it

transitive verb

1 : to bring about by clumsy manipulation
2a : to feel or handle clumsily
b : to deal with in a blundering way : bungle
3 : to make (one's way) in a clumsy manner
4a : misplay fumble a grounder
b : to lose hold of (a football) while handling or running

fumble

noun

Definition of fumble (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of fumbling
2 : a fumbled ball

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Other Words from fumble

Verb

fumbler \ ˈfəm-​b(ə-​)lər How to pronounce fumbler (audio) \ noun
fumblingly \ ˈfəm-​b(ə-​)liŋ-​lē How to pronounce fumblingly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of fumble in a Sentence

Verb

She fumbled in her pocket for her keys. They fumbled a good opportunity to take control of the market. He was hit hard and fumbled on the 20-yard line. He fumbled the ball on the 20-yard line.

Noun

played the entire piano piece without a single fumble
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

There’s a scene where Kay feels particularly alone, and you’re left to literally fumble around in the dark in search of what to do next. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Sea of Solitude is a haunting game that turns personal demons into literal monsters," 5 July 2019 Forget that the Lakers just fired one head coach only to fumble the hiring of the next. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "After Year of Turmoil, Lakers Look Ready to Contend," 15 June 2019 Playing good defense and with Las Vegas fumbling the ball away at an alarming rate, including eight of its 16 turnovers in the opening frame, the Lynx led by as much as 14 early in the second quarter. Mike Cook, Twin Cities, "Minnesota Lynx blow late lead in loss to Las Vegas Aces," 16 June 2019 And that caused the Super Bowl Predictor of the market to fumble. William Power, WSJ, "U.S.-Stock Funds Fell 7.7% in 2018 but Foreign Funds Were No Refuge (-15.5%)," 6 Jan. 2019 Protocol says they should always be prelocked, so teachers don’t have to fumble with keys in an emergency. Lara Sorokanich, Popular Mechanics, "What Littleton Learned," 1 Aug. 2018 He also was seen fumbling through a purse before stuffing what authorities suspect was cash into his pocket, the document said. Sarah Horner, Twin Cities, "Ramsey County sheriff’s sergeant stole personal property during search at St. Paul home, charges say," 4 June 2019 But from this point, when things are at their most promising, Discovery fumbles the plot. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "Last Night's 'Star Trek Discovery' Was a Maze of Confusion," 6 Nov. 2017 Osman said the injury happened this time as he was headed toward the hoop when LeBron James fumbled the ball out of bounds. Joe Vardon, cleveland.com, "Cavaliers' Cedi Osman felt a 'pop' in his groin that knocked him out of loss: Inside Cavs-Clippers," 2 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Taylor was charged with seven fumbles, five of which were lost. Michael Lev, azcentral, "Counting down the most valuable Arizona Wildcats for 2019 football season," 9 July 2019 The footage also shows one suspect fumble with a cash register, even shaking it like a piggy bank, while the others clumsily gather up cartons of cigarettes and cigarette lighters. Jason Green, The Mercury News, "Breakin’ the law: ‘Beavis and Butt-head’ bandits sought in Los Gatos burglary," 9 July 2019 In the wake of the Farsi Island incident, the outlines of the Navy’s fumbles were widely reported. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "“Set Up For Failure”: How Iran Captured 10 US Sailors at Farsi Island," 25 June 2019 Emmons ran for 694 yards and 10 touchdowns at Hutchinson Community College last season but also had seven fumbles. Matt Zenitz, AL.com, "Former Alabama RB joining Lane Kiffin at FAU," 7 Feb. 2018 In the wake of the Farsi Island incident, the outlines of the Navy’s fumbles were widely reported. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "“Set Up For Failure”: How Iran Captured 10 US Sailors at Farsi Island," 25 June 2019 In the wake of the Farsi Island incident, the outlines of the Navy’s fumbles were widely reported. Megan Rose, ProPublica, "Trump Keeps Talking About the Last Military Standoff With Iran — Here’s What Really Happened," 24 June 2019 The Dolphins expect Carradine, who has started eight games over his six-year career and contributed 77 tackles, 5.5 sacks and one forced fumble in his 44 NFL games, to serve as an edge-setting defensive end. Omar Kelly, sun-sentinel.com, "Kelly: Which newcomers are expected to help Dolphins in 2019? | Commentary," 19 June 2019 Unlike the previous two, this game was competitive despite three DLS fumbles and a bad punt snap that led to 28 points. Mitch Stephens, SFChronicle.com, "High school sports year in review: Titles, tragedy and tumbles," 7 June 2019

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

Verb

1534, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fumble

Verb

probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Swedish fumla to fumble

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Statistics for fumble

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fumble

The first known use of fumble was in 1534

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More Definitions for fumble

fumble

verb

English Language Learners Definition of fumble

: to search for something by reaching or touching with your fingers in an awkward or clumsy way
: to handle something in an awkward or clumsy way
sports : to fail to catch or hold the ball

fumble

verb
fum·​ble | \ ˈfəm-bəl How to pronounce fumble (audio) \
fumbled; fumbling

Kids Definition of fumble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to feel about for or handle something in a clumsy way He fumbled in his pockets.
2 : to lose hold of the ball in football

fumble

noun

Kids Definition of fumble (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of losing hold of the ball in football

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More from Merriam-Webster on fumble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fumble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fumble

Spanish Central: Translation of fumble

Nglish: Translation of fumble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fumble

Comments on fumble

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