9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[floun-der] /ˈflaʊn dər/
verb (used without object)
to struggle with stumbling or plunging movements (usually followed by about, along, on, through, etc.):
He saw the child floundering about in the water.
to struggle clumsily or helplessly:
He floundered helplessly on the first day of his new job.
Origin of flounder1
1570-80; perhaps blend of flounce1 and founder2
Related forms
flounderingly, adverb
unfloundering, adjective
2. falter, waver, muddle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for floundered
  • The drives were ill-kept, and the neat carriage splashed and floundered in muddy pools along the road.
  • Levin floundered for two decades trying to bring his discovery to market.
  • He floundered, unable to pull himself over the raft wall.
  • The concept was pure genius, but it was the execution that floundered a little bit.
  • But attempts to depict the verdict as racist have floundered on the presence of four non-whites in the unanimous jury.
  • The government has floundered in the face of this insurgency.
  • And though he initially floundered when the financial crisis struck, he was hardly alone in not knowing what to do.
  • The government, previously adept at public relations, has floundered in its response.
  • One company floundered because it answered requests for quotations only once every three months.
  • If the company has floundered, then bonus payments should certainly not be part of that pay-off.
British Dictionary definitions for floundered


verb (intransitive)
to struggle; to move with difficulty, as in mud
to behave awkwardly; make mistakes
the act of floundering
Usage note
Flounder is sometimes wrongly used where founder is meant: the project foundered (not floundered) because of a lack of funds
Word Origin
C16: probably a blend of founder² + blunder; perhaps influenced by flounder²


noun (pl) -der, -ders
Also called fluke. a European flatfish, Platichthys flesus having a greyish-brown body covered with prickly scales: family Pleuronectidae: an important food fish
(US & Canadian) any flatfish of the families Bothidae (turbot, etc) and Pleuronectidae (plaice, halibut, sand dab, etc)
Word Origin
C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse flythra, Norwegian flundra
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for floundered



1590s, perhaps an alteration of founder (q.v.), influenced by Dutch flodderen "to flop about," or native verbs in fl- expressing clumsy motion. Figurative use is from 1680s. Related: Floundered; floundering. As a noun derived from this sense, from 1867.


flatfish, c.1300, from Anglo-French floundre, from Old North French flondre, from Old Norse flydhra; related to Middle Low German vlundere, Danish flynder; ultimately cognate with Greek platys "flat, wide, broad" (see plaice (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for flounder

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for floundered

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for floundered