follow Dictionary.com

Do you know ghouls from goblins and ghosts?

fumble

[fuhm-buh l] /ˈfʌm bəl/
verb (used without object), fumbled, fumbling.
1.
to feel or grope about clumsily:
She fumbled in her purse for the keys.
2.
Sports. to fumble the ball.
verb (used with object), fumbled, fumbling.
3.
to make, handle, etc., clumsily or inefficiently:
to fumble an attempt; He fumbled his way through the crowded room.
4.
Sports. to fail to hold or maintain hold on (a ball) after having touched it or carried it.
noun
5.
the act of fumbling:
We completed the difficult experiment without a fumble.
6.
Sports. an act or instance of fumbling the ball.
Origin
1500-1510
1500-10; akin to Norwegian, Swedish fumla, Middle Low German fummeln to grope, fumble
Related forms
fumbler, noun
fumblingly, adverb
fumblingness, noun
outfumble, verb (used with object), outfumbled, outfumbling.
unfumbled, adjective
unfumbling, adjective
Synonyms
3. bungle, botch, mishandle, spoil, muff.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for fumble
  • The fumble was typical of the seesaw nature of the game.
  • But once they have to be on their own, narcissists usually fumble and fall.
  • We fumble for the high-powered scopes and examine the spot.
  • Even a small change in their shape will produce botched proteins that fumble their electrons.
  • But he did not give the ball away on a fumble or interception.
  • Workers may lose coordination, have slurred speech, and fumble with items in the hand.
  • Don't stand in a doorway and fumble in your purse or pocket for your keys.
  • Those with an energy conscience don't have to fumble in the dark and cold.
British Dictionary definitions for fumble

fumble

/ˈfʌmbəl/
verb
1.
(intransitive; often foll by for or with) to grope about clumsily or blindly, esp in searching: he was fumbling in the dark for the money he had dropped
2.
(intransitive; foll by at or with) to finger or play with, esp in an absent-minded way
3.
to say or do hesitantly or awkwardly: he fumbled the introduction badly
4.
to fail to catch or grasp (a ball, etc) cleanly
noun
5.
the act of fumbling
Derived Forms
fumbler, noun
fumblingly, adverb
fumblingness, noun
Word Origin
C16: probably of Scandinavian origin; related to Swedish fumla
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 fumble
v.

mid-15c., "handle clumsily," possibly from Old Norse falma "to fumble, grope." Similar words in Scandinavian and North Sea Germanic suggest onomatopoeia from a sound felt to indicate clumsiness (cf. bumble, stumble, and obsolete English famble, fimble of roughly the same meaning). Related: Fumbled; fumbling.

n.

1640s, from fumble (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for fumble

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for fumble

13
17
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with fumble

Nearby words for fumble