There are 2 main definitions of flounder in English:

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flounder1

Line breaks: floun|der
Pronunciation: /ˈflaʊndə
 
/

verb

[no object]
1Struggle or stagger clumsily in mud or water: he was floundering about in the shallow offshore waters
More example sentences
  • The couple kicked their runners off, grabbed two life-buoys and waded in to where the mother and son were floundering in deep water.
  • What would floundering around in the water have done to him?
  • A witness said Davis, a good swimmer, began floundering in the water.
Synonyms
struggle, thrash, thresh, flail, toss and turn, twist and turn, pitch, splash, stagger, stumble, falter, lurch, blunder, fumble, grope, squirm, writhe
1.1Struggle mentally; show or feel great confusion: she floundered, not knowing quite what to say
More example sentences
  • His conscience flounders in inchoate confusion as he tries to decide what his surface actions should accomplish instead of asking how their long-term consequences will unfold.
  • Some say that it wards off depression and this may be so, as people who enjoy sharp mental faculties are more likely to be confident and outgoing than those who flounder around in a mental fog.
  • Once in Ireland, he floundered in a confused situation, victim of Charles I's tricky diplomacy.
Synonyms
struggle mentally, be out of one's depth, be in the dark, have difficulty, be confounded, be confused, be dumbfounded
informal scratch one's head, be flummoxed, be clueless, be foxed, be fazed, be floored, be beaten
1.2Be in serious difficulty: many firms are floundering
More example sentences
  • He also knows that the repeated attempts by this government to take on the unions in a serious way are floundering.
  • She was immediately given a part in a big-screen biopic about champion cyclist Graeme Obree, which later floundered after the project ran into financial difficulties.
  • In Japan, which unfortunately continues to flounder, any negative effect on global trade would be serious for its very many household-name exporting companies.
Synonyms
struggle financially, be in dire straits, face financial ruin, be in difficulties, face bankruptcy/insolvency

Origin

late 16th century: perhaps a blend of founder3 and blunder, or perhaps symbolic, fl- frequently beginning words connected with swift or sudden movement.

Derivatives

flounderer

1
noun
Example sentences
  • And Mr. Kim's somber performance evokes the complicated psychology of a flounderer whose decisions are spontaneous, experimental leaps into the dark.
  • Many bands have a habit of following up a great album with a flounderer.
  • Simply said, a fish out of water is a flounderer.

Definition of flounder in:

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There are 2 main definitions of flounder in English:

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flounder2

Line breaks: floun|der
Pronunciation: /ˈflaʊndə
 
/

noun

1A small flatfish that typically occurs in shallow coastal water.
  • Families Pleuronectidae and Bothidae: several species, in particular the edible Platichthys flesus of European waters
Example sentences
  • The study was spurred by previous observations of feminization in estuarine fish, particularly the flounder, a common flatfish, Matthiessen said.
  • They seem to have also eaten flounder, whiting, plaice, cod and brown trout too.
  • They show considerable sequence homology to pleurocidins, antimicrobial peptides of the flounder, Pseudopleuronectes americanus.
1.1 (flounders) A collective term for flatfishes other than soles. See flatfish.
Example sentences
  • Not just cod but other groundfish, including flounder, halibut and haddock, were decimated.
  • Leo led her inside the building, which had a huge flounder painted on it.
  • Fortunately the flounder is a robust fish which, with careful handling, will easily go back and swim away to fight another day.

Origin

Middle English: from Old French flondre, probably of Scandinavian origin and related to Danish flynder.

Definition of flounder in:

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