verb[no object, with adverbial]
- 1Do or handle something clumsily: she fumbled with the lockMore example sentences
- He reached his door and pulled out his key and fumbled with the lock.
- ‘I should have put more planning into my plan’ said Mauritania as Jess tried fumbled with keys in the infinite number of locks on the door.
- Sharai grinned upon seeing me run out the door before, absentminded as I am; I ran back and fumbled with my keys to lock the door.
- 1.1 (fumble about/around) Move clumsily in various directions using the hands to find one’s way: he fumbled about in the dark but could not find herMore example sentences
- Clumsily fumbling around in his personal possessions with fingers which had fallen half-asleep, the emissary produced a neatly rolled-up paper and handed it over to the scaly hand before him.
- Clumsily, he fumbled around for tissues, but couldn't find any.
- She clumsily opened her book and fumbled around for her pen.
- 1.2 [with object and adverbial] Use the hands clumsily to move (something) as specified: she fumbled a cigarette from her bagMore example sentences
- The street light gag, fumbling the cigarettes?
- After returning from the airport, having said goodbye, I sat on the verandah and looked out at the night, fumbling a cigarette, its fire the only bright spot.
- ‘Whatever,’ he mumbled, fumbling his pockets for his keys.
- 1.3 [with object] (In ball games) fail to catch or field (the ball) cleanly: have you ever seen him fumble a ball? [no object]: the keeper fumbledMore example sentences
- The Crigglestone fullback fumbled the ball allowing Neil Kennedy and Ian Barnes to get their hands on the ball at the same time just before the ball went dead.
- Cody was much less productive, fumbling the ball at crucial times and finding his way into coach Dave McGinnis' doghouse.
- Instead, Curry fumbles the ball slightly, blowing the chance for a dunk.
- 1.4Express oneself or deal with something clumsily or nervously: Michael had fumbled for wordsMore example sentences
- Mimi nervously tugged at her shirt, and fumbled for words.
- I began fumbling for words to say in response, still struggling to get over the fact that Tristan was, indeed, a Gypsy.
- We, fumbling for words of love, remember the rockets the spinning wheels, the sudden diamonds and say with delight ‘Yes, like that, like that’
noun[usually in singular] Back to top
- 1An act of doing or handling something clumsily: just one fumble during a tyre change could separate the winners from the losersMore example sentences
- Yeah, the instructions make it so simple that even a child can go through it confidently, without a falter nor a fumble.
- 1.1 • informal An act of fondling someone for sexual pleasure: a quick fumble in a downtown tavernMore example sentences
- Finally, have sex when you're awake, not just at the end of the day when it's a quick fumble before you fall asleep.
- She gets two more drinks and a quick fumble with the hunky policeman, who apologises for his insensitivity to the subtleties of the evidence.
- We then proceeded to snog, fumble, grope and rub, until her friends pulled her off onto the dancefloor.
- 1.2(In ball games) an act of failing to catch or field the ball cleanly: he recovered a fumble after a bad exchangeMore example sentences
- He registered eight tackles, had two sacks, recovered a fumble and blocked a field goal - all despite being blocked most of the game by a tackle and tight end.
- He registered two sacks, blocked a field goal and recovered a fumble.
- Culpepper made two critical mistakes - a fumble on the goal line and, to a lesser extent, the game-ending interception.
- 1.3An act of managing or dealing with something clumsily: we are not talking about subtle errors of judgement, but major fumblesMore example sentences
- I made a major fumble last night in modifying the journal files and creating a new one for the day's new entry.
- More example sentences
- This comedy of manners evokes a matriarchal world where the men are often fumblers, their dignity taken from them in a biased culture, or thugs who try to take what they want by force.
- Well, the translator of this 1672 edition disagrees with most other fumblers who have attempted to bring meaning to this series of hoaxes.
- True, some of it is pretty bad, but even the fumblers among us don't deserve that adjective…
late Middle English: from Low German fommeln or Dutch fommelen.