fumble

1 of 2

verb

fum·​ble ˈfəm-bəl How to pronounce fumble (audio)
fumbled; fumbling ˈfəm-b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce fumble (audio)

intransitive verb

1
a
: to grope for or handle something clumsily or aimlessly
b
: to make awkward attempts to do or find something
fumbled in his pocket for a coin
c
: to search by trial and error
d
2
: to feel one's way or move awkwardly
3
a
: to drop or juggle or fail to play cleanly a grounder
b
: to lose hold of a football while handling or running with it

transitive verb

1
: to bring about by clumsy manipulation
2
a
: to feel or handle clumsily
b
: to deal with in a blundering way : bungle
3
: to make (one's way) in a clumsy manner
4
a
: misplay
fumble a grounder
b
: to lose hold of (a football) while handling or running
fumbler noun
fumblingly adverb

fumble

2 of 2

noun

1
: an act or instance of fumbling
2
: a fumbled ball

Example Sentences

Verb She fumbled in her pocket for her keys. They fumbled a good opportunity to take control of the market. He was hit hard and fumbled on the 20-yard line. He fumbled the ball on the 20-yard line. Noun played the entire piano piece without a single fumble
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Watkins hit the ground, popped up and took off running, only to fumble the ball and give Washington possession. Arkansas Online, 15 Nov. 2022 Watkins hit the ground, popped up and took off running, only to fumble the ball and give Washington possession. Dan Gelston, ajc, 15 Nov. 2022 The Browns had one last-ditch chance at a miracle finish, but Donovan Peoples-Jones was forced to fumble after a 19-yard catch as time expired. cleveland, 23 Oct. 2022 Keys and Ivey forced Wildcats quarterback Will Levis to fumble on consecutive possessions with AJ Finley and Tavius Robinson recovering both, respectively. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 1 Oct. 2022 The Hawks threatened to tack on to its 14-point lead from the Lions’ 2-yard line only to fumble it at the goal line with Newton South’s Izuna Anigbogu recovering. Kevin Stone, BostonGlobe.com, 22 Sep. 2022 Also, these broadcasters didn’t want to fumble the ball to interloper tech companies like Amazon or Apple. Meg James, Los Angeles Times, 23 Aug. 2022 Two drives later, the defense made a stand again, as Max Williams forced Smith to fumble at the two, where USC would start yet another scoring drive. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, 10 Sep. 2022 Users appreciate not having to fumble for their ID cards or remembering answers to security questions. Gaurav Tewari, Forbes, 10 June 2022
Noun
Sanders notched his first career interception to set up a UA touchdown and recovered a fumble. Tom Murphy, Arkansas Online, 21 Nov. 2022 Judson’s offense took advantage of short fields provided by its defense, which forced a safety, snagged two interceptions and recovered a fumble. Joseph Myers, San Antonio Express-News, 10 Nov. 2022 Until, that is, Max Martin's final pass of a stellar career wound up complete for what would've been a first down, except Central forced and recovered a fumble on the play to end the game and set off a raucous celebration. Ben Stapley, The Arizona Republic, 10 Nov. 2022 The McIntosh fumble was the third of the game for Georgia. Marc Weiszer, USA TODAY, 30 Oct. 2022 Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Cardinals lost the ball three times, including a costly fumble in the fourth quarter that led to the Vikings' touchdown that sealed their win. José M. Romero, The Arizona Republic, 30 Oct. 2022 Roosevelt recovered a Grant fumble at the Generals’ 42-yard line with 4:22 left in the quarter, then used eight plays to advance to the five-yard line — none longer than eight yards. Scott Sepich, oregonlive, 29 Oct. 2022 Everett took control early after junior linebacker Domenic Papa made a touchdown-saving tackle at the goal line, preceding a Classical fumble. Nate Weitzer, BostonGlobe.com, 28 Oct. 2022 Then, Joel Nelson caused a Calera fumble, which led to Clopton’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Jacorey Whitted with 1:04 to go before halftime. Anton Williams, al, 27 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fumble.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Swedish fumla to fumble

First Known Use

Verb

1534, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of fumble was in 1534

Dictionary Entries Near fumble

Cite this Entry

“Fumble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fumble. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

fumble 1 of 2

verb

fum·​ble ˈfəm-bəl How to pronounce fumble (audio)
fumbled; fumbling -b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce fumble (audio)
: to feel about for or handle something clumsily
fumbler noun

fumble

2 of 2

noun

1
: an act or instance of fumbling
2
: a fumbled ball

More from Merriam-Webster on fumble

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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