Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To cause (someone) to think unclearly; confuse: synonym: befuddle.
  • intransitive verb To become confused.
  • intransitive verb To become rotten, as an egg.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make corrupt or putrid, as eggs.
  • Hence To spoil; make worthless or ineffective; muddle; confuse: as, to addle the brain, or a piece of work.
  • To manure with liquid.
  • To become addled, as an egg; hence, to come to nought; be spoiled.
  • noun Liquid filth; putrid urine or mire; the drainage from a dunghill.
  • noun The dry lees of wine. Bailey; Ash.
  • noun Same as attle.
  • Having lost the power of development and become rotten; putrid: applied to eggs. Hence Empty; idle; vain; barren; producing nothing; muddled, confused, as the head or brain.
  • noun Laborers' wages.
  • To earn; accumulate gradually, as money.
  • To produce or yield fruit; ripen.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete Liquid filth; mire.
  • noun Prov. Eng. Lees; dregs.
  • verb To make addle; to grow addle; to muddle.
  • verb Prov. Eng. To earn by labor.
  • verb Prov. Eng. To thrive or grow; to ripen.
  • adjective Having lost the power of development, and become rotten, as eggs; putrid. Hence: Unfruitful or confused, as brains; muddled.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb provincial, Northern England To earn, earn by labor; earn money or one's living. — Forby.
  • verb provincial, Northern England To thrive or grow; to ripen.
  • adjective Having lost the power of development, and become rotten, as eggs; putrid.
  • adjective by extension Unfruitful or confused, as brains; muddled. John Dryden.
  • adjective See addled.
  • noun obsolete Liquid filth; mire.
  • noun provincial Lees; dregs. Wright
  • verb To make addle; to grow addle; to muddle; as, he addled his brain.
  • verb To cause fertilised eggs to lose viability, by killing the developing embryo within through shaking, piercing, freezing or oiling, without breaking the shell.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb mix up or confuse
  • verb become rotten

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From Middle English adel, rotten, from Old English adel, pool of excrement.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English addlen, from Old English edlēan ("reward, pay-back"), edlēanian ("to reward, recompense"); or of North Germanic origin, from Old Norse ǫðlask ("to gain possession of property"), from ōðal ("owndom, property").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English adel ("rotten"), from Old English adel, adela ("mire, pool, liquid excrement"), from Proto-Germanic *adalaz, *adalan (“cattle urine, liquid manure”). Akin to Saterland Frisian adel "dung", Middle Low German adele "mud, liquid manure" (Dutch aal "puddle"), Old Swedish adel "urine".

Examples

  • One need only read the curious doublespeak of the so-called black block anarchists, the group responsible for the only destructive protests at the Vancouver Olympics, to realize what kind of addle-brained morons we're dealing with.

    Vue Weekly

  • We’m kind of addle-headed and over-set, one way and ’tother, and can’t seem to take to any notion.”

    Death of a Fool

  • “She surely deserves it all,” Graham murmured, although vaguely hurt in that the addle-pated, alphabet-obsessed, epicurean anarchist of an Irishman who gloried in being a loafer and a pensioner should even mildly be in love with the Little Lady.

    CHAPTER XII

  • There are still more addle-brained softballs to come:

    Larry Womack: Chronicle's Boxer 'Endorsement' Reasserts Its Irrelevance

  • Those were their cards and they had to play them, willy-nilly, hunchbacked or straight backed, crippled or clean-limbed, addle-pated or clear - headed.

    Chapter X

  • He had not exactly crushed the man's head like an egg-shell, but the blow had been sufficient to addle what was inside, and, after being sick for a week, the man had died.

    THE CHINAGO

  • There are still more addle-brained softballs to come:

    Larry Womack: Chronicle 's Boxer 'Endorsement' Reasserts Its Irrelevance

  • Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu agreed and messaged back it was probably just “planted intelligence of the enemy designed to addle us,” but he ordered his embassies to check it out further.

    Wild Bill Donovan

  • There are still more addle-brained softballs to come:

    Larry Womack: Chronicle 's Boxer 'Endorsement' Reasserts Its Irrelevance

  • Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu agreed and messaged back it was probably just “planted intelligence of the enemy designed to addle us,” but he ordered his embassies to check it out further.

    Wild Bill Donovan

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • "addled ... by 1712, from addle (n.) 'urine, liquid filth,' from Old English adela 'mud, mire, liquid manure' (cognate with Old Swedish adel 'urine,' Middle Low German adel, Dutch aal 'puddle'). Used in noun phrase addle egg (c.1250) 'egg that does not hatch, rotten egg,' literally 'urine egg,' a loan translation of Latin ovum urinum, which is itself an erroneous loan translation of Greek ourion oon 'putrid egg,' literally 'wind egg,' from ourios 'of the wind' (confused by Roman writers with ourios 'of urine,' from ouron 'urine'). Because of this usage, the noun in English was taken as an adjective from c. 1600, meaning 'putrid,' and thence given a figurative extension to 'empty, vain, idle,' also 'confused, muddled, unsound' (1706). The verb followed."

    - dictionary.com

    November 2, 2008

  • is that why we call them addle-lescents?

    November 6, 2009