- 1 the ship founderedsink, go to the bottom, go down, be lost at sea
Choose the right word
It is easy to confuse these words, not only because they sound similar but also because the contexts in which they are used overlap. Founder means, in its general and extended use, ‘fail or come to nothing, sink out of sight’ ( the scheme foundered because of lack of organizational backing ). Flounder, on the other hand, means ‘struggle, move clumsily, be in a state of confusion’ ( new recruits floundering about in their first week ).