muddle

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

Noun

muddly \ ˈməd-​lē How to pronounce muddly (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 The acquisitions of George Hill and Eric Bledsoe might muddle the backcourt situation a bit, but Lewis could use some seasoning and would be a nice developmental piece. Mike Rodak | Mrodak@al.com, al, "Where is Kira Lewis projected to be taken in the NBA draft?," 18 Nov. 2020 His answer was marred only by letting Trump muddle the issue. Ramesh Ponnuru Bloomberg Opinion (tns), Star Tribune, "The final debate: Trump shows discipline, but lacks a game-changer," 23 Oct. 2020 Splash it with three dashes of bitters and muddle together. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "What's the Difference Between Bourbon and Whiskey?," 5 Oct. 2020 Looks like the Cowboys will have to muddle along without Earl after all. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "Approaching season’s quarter mark, here’s the case for and against Cowboys making a Super Bowl run," 1 Oct. 2020 Changing government strategies can muddle the numbers and paint a misleading picture of the situation. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "More than 60 million people in India may have caught Covid-19, survey finds," 30 Sep. 2020 That uncertainty could muddle that night’s results in some local races, Vu said. Charles T. Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Unprecedented 2020 election brings new ways to vote, new expectations for San Diego," 27 Sep. 2020 The threat of quarantine may further muddle Venezuela's coronavirus statistics, as some citizens would rather suffer in silence and hide in their homes than be identified as ​possibly having been exposed to the virus and end up in a motel for weeks. Vasco Cotovio And Isa Soares, CNN, "'I thought I was going to die.' Inside Venezuela's mandatory quarantine motels," 14 Sep. 2020 In many parts of the country, coronavirus cases are still ratcheting up every day — and will become more difficult to track when similar sicknesses muddle the picture. Katherine J. Wu, New York Times, "New York Will Test the Dead More Often for Coronavirus and Flu," 6 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In this case, there's a bit of a muddle of old and new tools. David Nield, Wired, "How to Use Parental Controls in Your Google, Apple, and Microsoft Account," 8 Nov. 2020 The conclusion of the episode - like so much of Trump’s presidency and reelection campaign - was a muddle. Author: Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Matt Viser, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump’s defeat was shaped by same instincts that boosted him in 2016," 7 Nov. 2020 What many expected would be a solid repudiation of Donald Trump and his party ended up a muddle. Damon Linker, TheWeek, "What we know about the election results — and what we don't," 4 Nov. 2020 Add orange, simple syrup, and bitters in a glass and muddle (or use a wooden spoon to smash the orange). Outside Online, "DIY Cocktails to Elevate Your Next Backyard Hangout," 3 Nov. 2020 That easily could have fused into a great muddle or — worse — something self-consciously artsy. Ron Charles, Washington Post, "Bryan Washington’s ‘Memorial’ is a tender look at modern family life," 27 Oct. 2020 The protracted muddle over the president’s condition and treatments is a case in point. Star Tribune, "Trump's illness should unite the country in fighting coronavirus," 7 Oct. 2020 Is there no help for Jack out of his muddle of self-loathing? Hermione Lee, The New York Review of Books, "Sympathy for the Devil," 6 Oct. 2020 But with the rise of fast-moving trains, the muddle of differing times became a nuisance. Quanta Magazine, "Arrows of Time," 5 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for muddle

Time Traveler

The first known use of muddle was in 1676

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Statistics for muddle

Last Updated

24 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Muddle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/muddle. Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for muddle

muddle

verb
How to pronounce muddle (audio)

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 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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