Definition of muddle in English:


Line breaks: mud¦dle
Pronunciation: /ˈmʌd(ə)l


[with object]
  • 2Mix (a drink) or stir (an ingredient) into a drink.
    More example sentences
    • Place the mint, tangerine, lime juice and syrup in a shaker tin, muddle all ingredients together.
    • Requiring your bartenders to cut the lemons and muddle them in front of the customer each time a drink is ordered is too arduous.
    • In a mixing glass, moderately muddle syrup, bitters, mint, orange and lime together.


[usually in singular] Back to top  
  • 1An untidy and disorganized state or collection: the finances were in a muddle [mass noun]: she was able to cut through confusion and muddle
    More example sentences
    • Even if, like me, you think the polls are often in a muddle, they do tell a consistent story on economic management.
    • She dares us to dress down, to strip ourselves of our illusions and to acknowledge that, for most of the time, we live life in a muddle and ‘that every hour contains at least a moment of bewilderment or worse’.
    • He says: ‘Ordinary events got Jennings in a muddle and we can identify with these.’
  • 1.1A mistake arising from or resulting in confusion: a bureaucratic muddle
    More example sentences
    • Despite the muddles of his campaign, his message won him nearly 49% of the votes.
    • Here in India, especially in relatively small cities like Dehra Doon, it feels like half magic a lot of the time and the only way to live through the muddles is to be determined to find them funny.
    • The four great battles of Cassino brought to a head all the muddles and contradictions of the Italian campaign.
    bungle, mix-up, misunderstanding, mistake
    informal hash, foul-up, screw-up
    North American informal snafu
    vulgar slang fuck-up
    British vulgar slang balls-up

Phrasal verbs

muddle through (or British along)

Cope more or less satisfactorily despite lack of expertise, planning, or equipment: while the children were young, we managed to muddle through
More example sentences
  • ‘We just manage to muddle through but it's a bit of a strain over seven weeks,’ says Kenny Kingshott.
  • However, I have enough faith in the inherent common sense of the human race to believe that we will, as ever, just manage to muddle through.
  • But generally - and I say this knowing full well that I am tempting every fate known to man - we have managed to muddle along quite well.

muddle something up

Confuse two or more things with each other: the words seemed to have got muddled up
More example sentences
  • Thus, the matter is muddled up as a manager-employee conflict instead of a pure freedom of expression issue.
  • And so, because I didn't want to go through the rest of my life eating the wrong food and muddling homeopaths up with homosexuals, I selected the weakest lenses and set about choosing some frames.
  • I think a lot of people muddle celebrities up with soaps.



More example sentences
  • At first blissfully unaware of the looming nuclear catastrophe, their muddling path towards doom is in equal parts pathetic, frightening and funny.
  • Out has gone the old, muddling approach, in has come good capital management methods, a tougher approach to diversification, and a commitment to boost returns.
  • Great achievements don't spring into existence fully fledged with greatness; they grow out of life's mundane, muddling debates, and out of feats of patience.


More example sentences
  • And too many parents are left muddlingly only among those who express sympathy and criticism, and don't help them along the road of seeing the gifts.
  • ‘It's symbolic in that each voice is different, you know,’ he says, muddlingly.
  • Despite the eyelocks and handholds and sunsets and stargazing, her relationship with V is muddlingly platonic.


More example sentences
  • But, the reason why it's a muddly subject is because they're being thick and pointless on purpose!
  • He's the most muddly old thing and incidentally never finishes a sentence.
  • The Economist gushed, ‘The muddly, statist, sort-of-socialist Egypt of old has become the very model of a modern emerging market.’


late Middle English (in the sense 'wallow in mud'): perhaps from Middle Dutch moddelen, frequentative of modden 'dabble in mud'; compare with mud. The sense 'confuse' was initially associated with alcoholic drink (late 17th century), giving rise to 'busy oneself in a confused way' and 'jumble up' (mid 19th century).

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