follow Dictionary.com

Write a Super Short Story to win an iPod!

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 fumbled
  • The secret of education still hid itself somewhere behind ignorance, and one fumbled over it as feebly as ever.
  • He glanced once at his favorite tree, elm twigs against the gold patina of sky, and fumbled for sleep as for a drug.
  • Their spokesmen have fumbled to come up with a consistent line.
  • The answer is through a combination of political expediency, inept tactics and fumbled diplomacy.
  • Each crocodile, having taken the shell, invariably fumbled and dropped it.
  • Proctor fumbled in the first and third quarters when he also ran for touchdowns.
  • On the other side of the coin, in the last two games, the sophomore has thrown five picks and fumbled the ball away once.
  • McNair, playing on a twisted ankle, fumbled the ball away late.
  • He fumbled in his pockets and handed me a crumpled slip of paper.
  • Morandi fumbled, thrillingly, amid the ruins of mental concepts of space.
British Dictionary definitions for fumbled

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 fumbled

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 fumbled

15
19
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with fumbled

Nearby words for fumbled