Share this entry

Share this page

blunder

Line breaks: blun|der
Pronunciation: /ˈblʌndə
 
/

Definition of blunder in English:

noun

A stupid or careless mistake: she stopped, finally aware of the terrible blunder she had made
More example sentences
  • As a matter of fact this whole rising, if it could be called that, was a succession of blunders, mistakes and errors.
  • No doubt, America has had some terrible foreign policy blunders - some real, others embellished or imagined.
  • Smith, believing that a goal had been given, blasted the ball into the net only to find out he had made a terrible blunder.
Synonyms
debacle, fiasco;
Frenchfaux pas
North American informal blooper
British informal , dated bloomer
vulgar slang fuck-up

verb

[no object] Back to top  
1Make a stupid or careless mistake; act or speak clumsily: he knew he’d blundered (as adjective blundering) one’s first blundering attempts
More example sentences
  • Yet this megalomaniac blundered on, boasting of an episode in his life that had best be referred to only in passing.
  • Some of your Democratic colleagues are insisting, at this point, that you blundered on both votes.
  • It subsequently changed when it was recognized that the country had blundered on a variety of fronts.
Synonyms
make a mistake, be mistaken, err, be in error, misjudge, miscalculate, bungle, trip up, be wrong, get something wrong, be wide of the mark
informal slip up, screw up, blow it, foul up, goof, boob, put one's foot in it, make a boo-boo, drop a brick
vulgar slang fuck up, bugger up
1.1 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Move clumsily or as if unable to see: we were blundering around in the darkness
More example sentences
  • To Henry, it seems that the whole world is a ‘conspiracy of the young’; a party he has blundered into, only to find that everybody else is already somehow acquainted with one another, and he knows nobody.
  • I just blundered into it, but once I began to see how I would be free in the material, I was very happy.
  • A myth has grown up that he blundered into his discovery and did not realise the true potential of penicillin, leaving others to exploit it.
Synonyms

Origin

Middle English: probably of Scandinavian origin and related to blind.

More
  • The original meaning of blunder, ‘to move blindly, flounder’, gives a clue to its origin. It is likely to be related to blind. Clumsiness was a central part of the word's original meaning, and towards the end of the 15th century was added clumsiness in speech, with the meaning ‘to say thoughtlessly, to blurt out’. The modern sense developed in the early 18th century. In his poem ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ ( 1854), Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote of one of history's greatest blunders: ‘Forward, the Light Brigade! / Was there a man dismayed? / Not though the soldier knew / Some one had blundered.’ A blunderbuss (mid 17th century) is unrelated, being an alteration of Dutch donderbus, literally ‘thunder gun’.

Derivatives

blunderer

1
noun
Example sentences
  • Although blunderers aren't condemned for their blundering, and criminals aren't arraigned for their crimes, the evidence which might have condemned them is diligently recorded.
  • There is a third possibility, which has been under-considered: that they are, quite simply, blunderers.
  • Any objective observer must report that the universe, if it is the product of conscious design, is clear proof that the designer is incompetent, a blunderer, an all-thumbs amateur who should not be allowed back into the workshop.

blunderingly

2
adverb
Example sentences
  • Well, why give yourself the necessary time to grieve and recover, when you can blunderingly plead for their return any time you wish, via a few attenuated syllables?
  • The actress was particularly good as the neurotic detective sergeant who keeps asking blunderingly inappropriate questions of interviewees, antagonising them seemingly just for the hell of it.
  • As I’ve blunderingly said for a long time now, I’ve known that I plan to spend my life with Elizabeth.

Definition of blunder in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day tenebrous
Pronunciation: ˈtenəbrəs
adjective
dark; shadowy or obscure