mud·​dy | \ ˈmə-dē How to pronounce muddy (audio) \
muddier; muddiest

Definition of muddy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : morally impure : base
2a : full of or covered with mud
b : characteristic or suggestive of mud a muddy flavor muddy colors
c : turbid with sediment
3a : lacking in clarity or brightness : cloudy, dull a muddy recording eyes muddy with sleep
b : obscure in meaning : muddled, confused muddy thinking


muddied; muddying

Definition of muddy (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : confuse
2 : to soil or stain with or as if with mud
3 : to make turbid
4 : to make cloudy or dull
muddy the waters
: to make a situation more confusing or difficult

Other Words from muddy


muddily \ ˈmə-​də-​lē How to pronounce muddy (audio) \ adverb
muddiness \ ˈmə-​dē-​nəs How to pronounce muddy (audio) \ noun

Examples of muddy in a Sentence

Adjective please do not walk in the house with muddy boots on, as you will get the carpet dirty whether muddy or not, water taken from lakes and streams should be boiled by campers Verb The flooding muddied the roads. She muddied the color by adding some brown. muddying the line between fact and fiction The debate further muddied the issues.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective When Assassins first appeared Off Broadway, the response was muddy. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 15 Nov. 2021 Add to this the risk that China could well be in a recession soon, and the outlook is very muddy. Mike O'sullivan, Forbes, 5 Nov. 2021 Kick drums offer a solid thud, while bass guitars and synths were heavy without being muddy. Christian De Looper, BGR, 26 Oct. 2021 Norris was a little muddy but otherwise unscathed at the finish line, where dozens of runners had blood oozing from scrapes and cuts. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, 8 July 2021 As officials assessed the damage, aerial footage showed large sections of major highways, farms and homes submerged under muddy brown water. Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2021 Images shared by the sheriff’s office showed vehicles submerged up to their headlights in muddy water. NBC News, 16 Nov. 2021 Dear Readers: During the fall, hiking boots get a good workout and get dirty, wet and muddy. Washington Post, 9 Oct. 2021 Photos of refugees arriving in Del Rio show a dangerous, desperate journey through heat and muddy water to the squalid, tight encampments that have raised alarm bells among health and humanitarian experts. Aj Willingham, CNN, 23 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Even then, Trump tried to muddy the waters a bit on Coney Barrett's behalf. Joel Mathis, The Week, 6 Sep. 2021 Just to muddy the water a bit, while pouring gels or liquids into a nauseous stomach is to blame, dehydration may be a factor in the nausea. Sarah Barker, Outside Online, 19 Mar. 2021 The ambiguity in what will follow has allowed people on both sides of the issue to muddy the public's perception on what this may mean for the city. Peter Nickeas And Omar Jimenez, CNN, 29 Oct. 2021 Hurd agrees that human studies will always involve elements that can muddy the findings. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, 15 Nov. 2021 Other legal issues that can muddy the waters are copyright, who is minting the NFT, the transfer of funds and anti-money-laundering laws. Michael Golomb, Forbes, 7 Sep. 2021 Sunday’s end of daylight saving time offers the chance to remind us of how California voters embraced a change for the state and how the public — and, as a result, politicians — often muddy the waters by debating standard versus daylight savings. John Myers, Los Angeles Times, 8 Nov. 2021 Online attacks can come out of nowhere and quickly gain traction when truth becomes blurry and unreliable sources muddy the water. Yec, Forbes, 1 Nov. 2021 The Republicans felt the phrase was unnecessary, officials said, while Democrats believed its elimination was an attempt to muddy the list’s purpose. Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2021

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of muddy was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

8 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Muddy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for muddy



English Language Learners Definition of muddy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: filled or covered with mud
: similar to mud
: not clear or bright : dull or cloudy



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

: to cover (something) with mud
: to make (a color) cloudy or dull
: to cause (something) to become unclear or confused


mud·​dy | \ ˈmə-dē How to pronounce muddy (audio) \
muddier; muddiest

Kids Definition of muddy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : filled or covered with mud a muddy pond muddy shoes
2 : looking like mud a muddy color
3 : not clear or bright : dull muddy skin
4 : being mixed up muddy thinking


muddied; muddying

Kids Definition of muddy (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to cover with mud She muddied her clothes.
2 : to make cloudy or dull (as in color)
3 : to become or cause to become confused

More from Merriam-Webster on muddy

Nglish: Translation of muddy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of muddy for Arabic Speakers


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