muddle

verb
mud·dle | \ˈmə-dᵊl \
muddled; muddling\ˈməd-liŋ, ˈmə-dᵊl-iŋ \

Definition of muddle 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make turbid or muddy muddled the brook with his splashings

2 : to befog or stupefy (see stupefy sense 1) especially with liquor The drink muddled him and his voice became loud and domineering.

3 : to mix confusedly muddles the household accounts

4 : to make a mess of : bungle muddled themselves into the most indefensible positions— A. N. Whitehead

intransitive verb

: to think or act in a confused aimless way She muddled along for a year before going to college.

muddle

noun

Definition of muddle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a state of especially mental confusion

2 : a confused mess

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Other Words from muddle

Verb

muddler \ˈməd-lər, ˈmə-dᵊl-ər \ noun

Noun

muddly \ˈməd-lē, ˈmə-dᵊl-ē \ adjective

Examples of muddle in a Sentence

Verb

a car shopper thoroughly muddled by too much well-meaning advice some mischievous brat had muddled the household accounts

Noun

His papers were in a muddle. His mind was a muddle.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Fresh mint, a couple slices of shisito pepper, a pinch of salt (more on that in a minute) and a squeeze of lemon are muddled then joined by fresh watermelon juice. Dana Mcmahan, The Courier-Journal, "These summer-friendly, low-alcohol boozy bevys don't skimp on flavor," 10 July 2018 In most other fields, the commission and members share power, often muddling decisions. Emre Peker, WSJ, "EU Sees Itself Holding the Line in Response to U.S. Metals Tariff," 28 June 2018 The European Union wants those issues addressed in other negotiations which would not muddle the nuclear agreement itself. Washington Post, "EU foreign policy chief says Iran nuclear deal should stay," 25 Apr. 2018 To create the syrup, MacDonald smokes Italian eggplants at a low temperature over wet mesquite chips, and then muddles them with white sugar. Grace Dickinson, Philly.com, "Garden-inspired cocktails bring veggies from the kitchen to the bar," 20 June 2018 For starters, the overall storytelling tends to be a touch muddled. Mike Scott, NOLA.com, "With 'Cloak & Dagger,' New Orleans gets Marvel superheroes to call its own," 1 June 2018 In the weeks since officially joining Trump’s legal team, Giuliani muddled Trump’s lines on the Stormy Daniels scandal, and even suggested that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen may have paid off other women on Trump’s behalf. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "'It Is for Public Opinion.' Rudy Giuliani May Have Admitted That Trump's 'Spygate' Is a PR Ploy," 28 May 2018 The series frequently relies on shaky camera movements, oppressively dim lighting and a dream-like atmosphere to muddle the timeline, which is at odds with the gritty realism of the script. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Review: Amy Adams' 'Sharp Objects' needs to be sharper to make its point," 5 July 2018 Trump’s interest in the House’s immigration debate was muddled. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Congress failed to do something on immigration — again. Here’s why.," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

His decisions on racial preferences were a particular muddle that a new Court will have to clarify. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Court After Kennedy," 27 June 2018 Add basil leaves and lemon juice to a shaker and muddle, just to release the oils. 2. Liza Weisstuch, BostonGlobe.com, "It’s Greek to me," 10 May 2018 The sixth muddle is that buy-backs are a good measure of whether corporate-tax reform was in the public interest. The Economist, "Six muddles about share buy-backs," 31 May 2018 As a mother who has breastfed but has also been grateful for the life- and career- and sanity-saving ability of formula, tracing out the implications of the story left me in something of a muddle. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "Donald Trump Tweets About Breastfeeding—But Misses the Whole Point," 10 July 2018 Now, in typical Italian fashion, there is a muddle: No party, or coalition, has won enough support in parliament to form a government, thrusting the country into protracted negotiations over who will govern. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "Italy’s Surging Populists Run Into a Political Muddle. But for How Long?," 5 Mar. 2018 Pineapple Vodka Bramble Time: 15 minutes | Serves: 8 Ingredients Directions: In the bottom of a pitcher, muddle and stir berries with sugar syrup and lemon juice. Good Housekeeping, "What to Make for Girls' Night In (When You've Got Zero Time to Plan)," 15 June 2018 Get our daily newsletter But hidden in the muddle there is also a grim logic. The Economist, "There is madness, but perhaps also method, in America’s trade policies," 31 May 2018 On the half-hour mark, Steven Zuber cleverly teed up Blerim Dzemaili but the Hoffenheim man got his feet in a muddle and Vladimir Stojkovic was able to parry away. Patrick Galey, chicagotribune.com, "Xhaka, Shaqiri lead Switzerland to comeback victory over Serbia," 22 June 2018

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

Verb

1676, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1808, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for muddle

Verb

probably from obsolete Dutch moddelen, from Middle Dutch, from modde mud; akin to Middle Low German mudde

Noun

see muddle entry 1

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Phrases Related to muddle

in a muddle

muddle along

Statistics for muddle

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for muddle

The first known use of muddle was in 1676

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More Definitions for muddle

muddle

verb

English Language Learners Definition of muddle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cause confusion in (someone or someone's mind)

: to mix up (something) in a confused way

muddle

noun

English Language Learners Definition of muddle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a state of confusion or disorder

: a situation or mistake caused by confusion

: a confused mess : a disordered mixture

muddle

verb
mud·dle | \ˈmə-dᵊl \
muddled; muddling

Kids Definition of muddle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to be or cause to be confused or bewildered “Haven't I so muddled their brains they want to turn you loose?”— Sid Fleischman, The Whipping Boy

2 : to mix up in a confused manner They muddled the story.

3 : to think or proceed in a confused way I somehow muddled through the task.

muddle

noun

Kids Definition of muddle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a state of confusion

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Comments on muddle

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