9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ad-l] /ˈæd l/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), addled, addling.
to make or become confused.
to make or become rotten, as eggs.
mentally confused; muddled.
addle eggs.
Origin of addle
before 1000; Middle English adel rotten, Old English adela liquid, filth; cognate with Middle Low German adele liquid manure
Related forms
unaddled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for addled
  • On some accounts, it has simply addled their brains, destroying their powers of concentration forever by dint of distraction.
  • Or, it might bounce off the students social-networking addled minds.
  • Burglars are generally drug-addled, unskilled and opportunistic.
  • Too often, models were showing up to photo-shoots hours late or drug-addled.
  • However, both nicotine-addled countries may be wrong.
  • Then a bunch of drug-addled hippies decided they were going to improve the world.
  • In this media-addled age, that is practically an eternity.
  • Once the substance-addled become inmates, keeping them clean is a job that never ends.
  • The songs are harsh and addled, the story is a whimper, the music is petulant as it rolls and roars.
  • Eventually, in their drug-addled state, they make mistakes.
British Dictionary definitions for addled


to make or become confused or muddled
to make or become rotten
(in combination) indicating a confused or muddled state: addle-brained, addle-pated
Word Origin
C18: (vb), back formation from addled, from c13 addle rotten, from Old English adela filth; related to dialect German Addel liquid manure


(Northern English, dialect) to earn (money or one's living)
Word Origin
C13: addlen, from Old Norse öthlask to gain possession of property, from ōthal property
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
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Word Origin and History for addled



1712, from addle (n.) "urine, liquid filth," from Old English adela "mud, mire, liquid manure" (cognate with Old Swedish adel "urine," Middle Low German adel, Dutch aal "puddle").

Used in noun phrase addle egg (mid-13c.) "egg that does not hatch, rotten egg," literally "urine egg," a loan-translation of Latin ovum urinum, which is itself an erroneous loan-translation of Greek ourion oon "putrid egg," literally "wind egg," from ourios "of the wind" (confused by Roman writers with ourios "of urine," from ouron "urine"). Because of this usage, from c.1600 the noun in English was taken as an adjective meaning "putrid," and thence given a figurative extension to "empty, vain, idle," also "confused, muddled, unsound" (1706). The verb followed a like course. Related: Addled; addling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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