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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.
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Examples from the web for fumbling
  • fumbling with something unfamiliar will negate the positive value it may have in the first place.
  • When you need a flashlight, you don't want to be fumbling around downloading one.
  • The fumbling with zippers and buttons and soft moans as they undress each other with a fierce urgency that will not be denied.
  • They were busy adjusting knobs, trying to set their cameras, and fumbling for misplaced rolls of film.
  • No fumbling to open as with other folding river knives.
  • No others will be so trusting or willing to indulge your ever present camera, your fumbling around with lights, and your mistakes.
  • Quit fumbling for stuff, especially along a busy road.
  • Say goodbye to fumbling with your map, having to take off your pack to get it out and have it exposed to the elements.
  • Instead of fumbling for a tiny button, you tap the sides of the camera.
  • The camera also has a dedicated video shoot button, so no fumbling between functions to switch between video and photo modes.
British Dictionary definitions for fumbling

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
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Word Origin and History for fumbling

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
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16
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