American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To touch or handle nervously or idly: fumble with a necktie.
- v. To grope awkwardly to find or to accomplish something: fumble for a key.
- v. To proceed awkwardly and uncertainly; blunder: fumble through a speech.
- v. Football To drop a ball that is in play.
- v. Baseball To mishandle a ground ball.
- v. To touch or handle clumsily or idly: "fumbled the receiver into its cradle” ( Howard Kaplan).
- v. To make a mess of; bungle. See Synonyms at botch.
- v. To feel or make (one's way) awkwardly.
- v. Football To drop (a ball) while in play.
- v. Baseball To mishandle (a ground ball).
- n. The act or an instance of fumbling.
- n. Sports A ball that has been fumbled.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To feel or grope about blindly or clumsily; hence, to make awkward attempts; seek or search for something awkwardly.
- To stutter; stammer; hesitate in speech; mumble.
- To find by groping; secure or ascertain by feeling about blindly or clumsily.
- Specifically In base-ball, to stop or catch, as the ball, in such a clumsy manner that an opportunity is lost to put out an opponent.
- To manage awkwardly; crowd or tumble together; jumble.
- n. The act of groping; awkward attempt; aimless search.
- n. In base-ball, foot-ball, and other games, an act of fumbling.
- v. transitive, intransitive To idly touch or nervously handle
- v. transitive, intransitive To grope awkwardly in trying to find something
- v. intransitive To blunder uncertainly
- v. transitive, intransitive, sports To drop a ball or a baton etc.
- n. sports A ball etc. that has been dropped
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. To feel or grope about; to make awkward attempts to do or find something.
- v. To grope about in perplexity; to seek awkwardly.
- v. To handle much; to play childishly; to turn over and over.
- v. To handle or manage awkwardly; to crowd or tumble together.
- v. make a mess of, destroy or ruin
- v. handle clumsily
- n. (sports) dropping the ball
- v. make one's way clumsily or blindly
- v. drop or juggle or fail to play cleanly a grounder
- v. feel about uncertainly or blindly
- Origin uncertain; perhaps from a Scandinavian source. Compare Old Norse falma, Swedish fumla, Danish fumle, German fummeln. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English fomelen, to grope. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Still, that same defense provided a touchdown and came up with the nail-in-the-coffin fumble at the end.”
“Pirates QB Patrick Pinkney hopes for a fast start to erase the memories of his overtime fumble from a week ago.”
“Later, I managed to catch a fumble from a cluster of all-too-eager fellow nerds.”
“ECU's Marcus Hands recovered a Martin fumble at the SMU 34-yard line on the second play of SMU's next possession, leading to Pinkney's second touchdown.”
“Woodson recovery of Toomer fumble is negated by an offside penalty on Cowboys 'Stewart to New York 37”
“Key plays: Russell recovery of Beuerlein fumble at Carolina 36;”
“I’d helped her ever since her rheumatism began to make her what she called fumble-fisted.”
“Short recovery of Martin fumble at New York Jets 35”
“As a prelude to my proposal, which concerns possession of said ball, isn't it time we stopped calling a fumble a fumble?”
“Then last Sunday, after Mr. Hagan needed Mr. Coughlin ' s challenge to overturn what was originally called a fumble on the Jacksonville three-yard line, he spied the reporter he ' d had the fumble conversation with and cried, You jinxed me!”
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