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flounder1

[floun-der] /ˈflaʊn dər/
verb (used without object)
1.
to struggle with stumbling or plunging movements (usually followed by about, along, on, through, etc.):
He saw the child floundering about in the water.
2.
to struggle clumsily or helplessly:
He floundered helplessly on the first day of his new job.
Origin
1570-1580
1570-80; perhaps blend of flounce1 and founder2
Related forms
flounderingly, adverb
unfloundering, adjective
Synonyms
2. falter, waver, muddle.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for un floundering

flounder1

/ˈflaʊndə/
verb (intransitive)
1.
to struggle; to move with difficulty, as in mud
2.
to behave awkwardly; make mistakes
noun
3.
the act of floundering
Usage note
Flounder is sometimes wrongly used where founder is meant: the project foundered (not floundered) because of a lack of funds
Word Origin
C16: probably a blend of founder² + blunder; perhaps influenced by flounder²

flounder2

/ˈflaʊndə/
noun (pl) -der, -ders
1.
Also called fluke. a European flatfish, Platichthys flesus having a greyish-brown body covered with prickly scales: family Pleuronectidae: an important food fish
2.
(US & Canadian) any flatfish of the families Bothidae (turbot, etc) and Pleuronectidae (plaice, halibut, sand dab, etc)
Word Origin
C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse flythra, Norwegian flundra
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 un floundering

flounder

v.

1590s, perhaps an alteration of founder (q.v.), influenced by Dutch flodderen "to flop about," or native verbs in fl- expressing clumsy motion. Figurative use is from 1680s. Related: Floundered; floundering. As a noun derived from this sense, from 1867.

n.

flatfish, c.1300, from Anglo-French floundre, from Old North French flondre, from Old Norse flydhra; related to Middle Low German vlundere, Danish flynder; ultimately cognate with Greek platys "flat, wide, broad" (see plaice (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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