muddle

verb
mud·​dle | \ ˈmə-dᵊl How to pronounce muddle (audio) \
muddled; muddling\ ˈməd-​liŋ How to pronounce muddle (audio) , 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 How to pronounce muddle (audio) , ˈmə-​dᵊl-​ər \ noun

Noun

muddly \ ˈməd-​lē How to pronounce muddle (audio) , 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 But, really, there was nothing to be done for it but to muddle forward. Erik Hedegaard, Rolling Stone, 16 Oct. 2021 Studies show that even moderately high levels of the gas may muddle thinking and that improving ventilation can boost performance on cognitive tasks. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 11 Oct. 2021 Studies show that even moderately high levels of the gas may muddle thinking and that improving ventilation can boost performance on cognitive tasks. New York Times, 10 Oct. 2021 The fight comes as lawmakers also muddle toward key deadlines to fund the government in nine days and avert a default on the nation’s debt by next month. Jennifer Haberkorn, Los Angeles Times, 21 Sep. 2021 To craft the the Maison No. 9 Fig Old Fashioned, cocktail lovers should add a fig, two dashes of pecan bitters and a dash of orange into a mixing glass and muddle well. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, 13 Sep. 2021 In a cocktail shaker, gently muddle 3 basil leaves, then fill the shaker with ice. Washington Post, 20 Aug. 2021 In a mixing glass, muddle the mint leaves over the simple syrup and lime juice. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, 20 Aug. 2021 The uncertainty on boosters could further muddle the Biden administration's messaging on the pandemic, which could further fuel his clashes with Republican governors on COVID-19 policies. Rick Klein, ABC News, 30 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The responsibility for this muddle lies squarely with Washington and the Biden team. Arthur Herman, National Review, 1 Oct. 2021 The prize’s recent history doesn’t offer much insight into its trajectory—the past few years offer a muddle of competing ideas. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 5 Oct. 2021 The German election result was in many ways a muddle. New York Times, 3 Oct. 2021 Grandma is unflinchingly stern, Aunt Bella is muddle-headed, Uncle Louie is a tough-talking gangster. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, 28 Sep. 2021 The results are a muddle, and complex coalition politicking will determine what path the country follows out of the Angela Merkel era. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 26 Sep. 2021 He was also asked to devise a master plan that would better integrate LACMA West with the museum’s existing muddle of buildings. Los Angeles Times, 20 Sep. 2021 The result is a mendacious muddle, in which only one conclusion can be drawn: The elites are hiding something—likely something very sinister—from everyone else. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 16 Sep. 2021 But the suit has placed Andrew, his family, the British government and one of its key pillars, The Crown (the real one, not the Netflix series), in a right royal muddle. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, 12 Aug. 2021

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 and Noun

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

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Learn More About muddle

Dictionary Entries Near muddle

mud dipper

muddle

muddle along

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Statistics for muddle

Last Updated

20 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Muddle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/muddle. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce muddle (audio) \
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 Fleishman, 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

More from Merriam-Webster on muddle

Nglish: Translation of muddle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of muddle for Arabic Speakers

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