Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To touch or handle nervously or idly.
  • intransitive verb To grope awkwardly to find or to accomplish something.
  • intransitive verb To proceed awkwardly and uncertainly; blunder.
  • intransitive verb Football To drop a ball that is in play.
  • intransitive verb Baseball To mishandle a ground ball.
  • intransitive verb To touch or handle clumsily or idly.
  • intransitive verb To make a mess of; bungle. synonym: botch.
  • intransitive verb To feel or make (one's way) awkwardly.
  • intransitive verb Football To drop (a ball) while in play.
  • intransitive verb Baseball To mishandle (a ground ball).
  • noun The act or an instance of fumbling.
  • noun Sports A ball that has been fumbled.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In base-ball, foot-ball, and other games, an act of fumbling.
  • 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.
  • noun The act of groping; awkward attempt; aimless search.

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

  • transitive verb To handle or manage awkwardly; to crowd or tumble together.
  • intransitive verb To feel or grope about; to make awkward attempts to do or find something.
  • intransitive verb To grope about in perplexity; to seek awkwardly.
  • intransitive verb To handle much; to play childishly; to turn over and over.

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

  • verb transitive, intransitive To idly touch or nervously handle
  • verb transitive, intransitive To grope awkwardly in trying to find something
  • verb intransitive To blunder uncertainly
  • verb transitive, intransitive, sports To drop a ball or a baton etc.
  • noun sports A ball etc. that has been dropped

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

  • verb make a mess of, destroy or ruin
  • verb handle clumsily
  • noun (sports) dropping the ball
  • verb make one's way clumsily or blindly
  • verb drop or juggle or fail to play cleanly a grounder
  • verb feel about uncertainly or blindly

Etymologies

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

[Middle English fomelen, to grope.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain; perhaps from a Scandinavian source. Compare Old Norse falma, Swedish fumla, Danish fumle, German fummeln.

Examples

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