med·​dle | \ ˈme-dᵊl How to pronounce meddle (audio) \
meddled; meddling\ ˈmed-​liŋ , ˈme-​dᵊl-​iŋ How to pronounce meddling (audio) \

Definition of meddle

intransitive verb

: to interest oneself in what is not one's concern : interfere without right or propriety (see propriety sense 1) I never meddle in other people's private affairs— G. B. Shaw

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Other Words from meddle

meddler \ ˈmed-​lər How to pronounce meddler (audio) , ˈme-​dᵊl-​ər How to pronounce meddler (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for meddle

meddle, interfere, and tamper mean to get involved with something that is someone else's business. meddle is used for intruding in an inconsiderate and annoying fashion. Don't meddle in her personal life. interfere is used for getting in the way of or disturbing someone or something whether intentionally or not. I tried to give advice without interfering. tamper is used for intruding or experimenting in a way that is wrong or uncalled-for and likely to be harmful. Someone had tampered with the lock.

Examples of meddle in a Sentence

please stop meddling in your sister's marriage, even though you mean well

Recent Examples on the Web

America’s competitors will look for other ways to meddle, undermine and fracture America’s power and alliances. James Jay Carafano, Twin Cities, "Carafano: Defending America after 2020," 22 Aug. 2019 During the French Revolution, a faction of conservative, pro-English Americans worried that radical Jacobins—who were beheading their compatriots in Paris—would try to meddle in U.S. politics. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian, "Why Don’t People Smile in Old Photographs? And More Questions From Our Readers," 11 July 2019 At the helm of the Justice Department, even if temporarily, Whitaker is in control of the Mueller probe, which aims to definitively answer whether or not Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. Stavros Agorakis, Vox, "Vox Sentences: The Whitaker saga continues," 20 Nov. 2018 There was a sense that something special was being created, something best not meddled with. Sarah Schweitzer, The Atlantic, "The Lunch Ladies of New Canaan," 15 Aug. 2019 Now the chain is investigating whether someone has been meddling with its shampoo in a Wisconsin store. Htv National Desk, Houston Chronicle, "Walmart investigating possible tampered shampoo after woman loses clumps of hair," 2 Aug. 2019 Now, the chain is investigating whether someone has been meddling with its shampoo in a Wisconsin store. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Woman Loses Clumps of Hair After Using Walmart Shampoo, Prompting Concerns It Was Tampered With," 1 Aug. 2019 Hacking Hacks, Not Hacking Back Trinity's tricks, the founders claim, include meddling with the authentication between a hacker's command-and-control server and his or her malware, so that the malicious code mysteriously breaks. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, "Trump's Cyber Czar Is Back—and He Wants to Make Hackers Suffer," 29 July 2019 Mueller told lawmakers that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 election in an effort to boost Trump and that such interference is likely continuing now. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Ron Johnson says Robert Mueller's testimony was 'sad,' says age took a toll," 26 July 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for meddle

Middle English medlen, from Anglo-French mesler, medler, from Vulgar Latin *misculare, from Latin miscēre to mix — more at mix

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Statistics for meddle

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for meddle

The first known use of meddle was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for meddle



English Language Learners Definition of meddle

: to become involved in the activities and concerns of other people when your involvement is not wanted
: to change or handle something in a way that is unwanted or harmful


med·​dle | \ ˈme-dᵊl How to pronounce meddle (audio) \
meddled; meddling

Kids Definition of meddle

: to be overly involved in someone else's business

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More from Merriam-Webster on meddle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with meddle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for meddle

Spanish Central: Translation of meddle

Nglish: Translation of meddle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of meddle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on meddle

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authorized for issue (as a bond)

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