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 Eliminating the cap would cost money and muddle the Democrats’ message on taxes. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "Biden floats biggest tax hike since Clinton, who paid the price," 1 Apr. 2021 Efforts in other states to muddle with the mechanics of elections have gone beyond state legislatures. Nick Corasaniti, New York Times, "Republicans Aim to Seize More Power Over How Elections Are Run," 24 Mar. 2021 Add mint leaves to your glass and gently muddle the leaves. Katie Kelly Bell, Forbes, "Try These Low Alcohol, Clean Cocktail Recipes For Spring And Summer," 12 Mar. 2021 In the letter, the historians compared the actions of the Japanese government to those of the US, when school boards attempted to muddle accounts of slavery in textbooks. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "A Harvard professor argued that Korean women forced into sex slavery in WWII did so voluntarily. Now he's facing a backlash," 10 Mar. 2021 Faced with a deluge of studies that made the dangers of smoking clear, tobacco firms funded their own—junk research meant not to refute the science, but to muddle it. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "The Unmaking of American Cynicism," 26 Feb. 2021 Add half the lemon juice and muddle in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Star Tribune, "Sunday supper: Creamy Broccoli Risotto," 12 Feb. 2021 Supporters of aggressive stimulus aid view that as a positive thing, a means to finally correct the mistakes of the last recession and achieve a boom-time economy quickly, rather than muddle along with millions out of work for years. New York Times, "Biden Wants the Biggest Stimulus in Modern History. Is It Too Big?," 29 Jan. 2021 In tall glass, muddle mint leaves with ginger syrup. Beth Segal, cleveland, "Ginger 2.0: Christmas is Over, Now What?," 28 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Someone in close contact may need your guidance when there is a muddle of their own making. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for March 4, 2021: Aries, let your wisdom shine; Pisces, someone flatters you," 4 Mar. 2021 Focus on applying sensible rationality rather than getting caught up in a muddle of conflicting ideas. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Jan. 26, 2021: Aries, make intentions crystal clear; Scorpio, fine-tune your beliefs," 26 Jan. 2021 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

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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Statistics for muddle

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Muddle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/muddle. Accessed 11 Apr. 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 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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