verb (used without object), fumbled, fumbling.
to feel or grope about clumsily: She fumbled in her purse for the keys.
Sports. to fumble the ball.
verb (used with object), fumbled, fumbling.
to make, handle, etc., clumsily or inefficiently: to fumble an attempt; He fumbled his way through the crowded room.
Sports. to fail to hold or maintain hold on (a ball) after having touched it or carried it.
the act of fumbling: We completed the difficult experiment without a fumble.
Sports. an act or instance of fumbling the ball.

1500–10; akin to Norwegian, Swedish fumla, Middle Low German fummeln to grope, fumble

fumbler, noun
fumblingly, adverb
fumblingness, noun
outfumble, verb (used with object), outfumbled, outfumbling.
unfumbled, adjective
unfumbling, adjective

3. bungle, botch, mishandle, spoil, muff.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fumble (ˈfʌmbəl)
1.  (intr; 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.  (intr; 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
5.  the act of fumbling
[C16: probably of Scandinavian origin; related to Swedish fumla]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-15c., "handle clumsily," possibly from O.N. falma "to fumble, grope." Similar words in Scand. and North Sea Gmc. 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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
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