Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To mix together, especially confusedly.
  • intransitive verb To mix (a drink or the ingredients of a drink), especially with a muddler.
  • intransitive verb To put into a state of confusion; confuse.
  • intransitive verb To confuse or befuddle (a person or the mind, for example). synonym: befuddle.
  • intransitive verb To mismanage or bungle.
  • intransitive verb To make turbid or muddy.
  • intransitive verb To think, act, or proceed in a confused or aimless manner.
  • noun A disordered condition; a mess or jumble.
  • noun A state of mental confusion.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A mess; dirty confusion; filth.
  • noun Intellectual confusion; cloudiness; bewilderment.
  • noun A kind of chowder; a pottle made with crackers. See pottle, 2.
  • To make foul, turbid, or muddy, as water.
  • To bewilder; perplex.
  • To intoxicate partially; cloud or stupefy, particularly with liquor: as, to muddle one's brains.
  • To spend profitlessly; waste; misuse; fritter: usually with away.
  • To bring into a state of confusion; make a mess of.
  • To mix; stir: as, to muddle chocolate or drinks.
  • To contract filth; become muddy or foul.
  • To become confused, especially from drink.
  • To potter about; wander confusedly.

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

  • intransitive verb obsolete To dabble in mud.
  • intransitive verb To think and act in a confused, aimless way.
  • transitive verb obsolete To make turbid, or muddy, as water.
  • transitive verb To cloud or stupefy; to render stupid with liquor; to intoxicate partially.
  • transitive verb rare To waste or misuse, as one does who is stupid or intoxicated.
  • transitive verb To mix confusedly; to confuse; to make a mess of; ; also, to perplex; to mystify.
  • noun A state of being turbid or confused; hence, intellectual cloudiness or dullness.

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

  • verb To mix together, to mix up; to confuse.
  • verb To mash slightly for use in a cocktail.
  • noun A mixture; a confusion; a garble.

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

  • verb make into a puddle
  • noun a confused multitude of things
  • noun informal terms for a difficult situation
  • verb mix up or confuse

Etymologies

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

[Possibly from obsolete Dutch moddelen, to make water muddy, from Middle Dutch, frequentative of *modden, to make muddy, from modde, mud.]

Examples

  • Behind stone walls dripping with clematis, a crabapple's toss away from what he called a "muddle" of windblown daisies, beneath the dappled shade of a weeping beech tree, a ruddy-cheeked Englishman, dressed in a gently rumpled olive suit, sat with a sketch pad spread across his lap.

    The Seattle Times

  • The policy muddle is mirrored by the tactical failures.

    Nick Mills: Obama's Wars

  • The policy muddle is mirrored by the tactical failures.

    Nick Mills: Obama's Wars

  • A muddle is a bar tool that allows you to crush ingredients together at the bottom of a glass, releasing lots of flavor into a drink.

    Classic Mojito | Baking Bites

  • A muddle is a bar tool that allows you to crush ingredients together at the bottom of a glass, releasing lots of flavor into a drink.

    Baking Bites » Print » Classic Mojito

  • More perplexing to me is the entire copyright muddle, which is a train wreck here in the US, where everyone watches everyone and my cat's walk across the keyboard is copyrighted.

    Recycling characters from the past

  • Now the problem is that if you don't know what you're doing, you'll end up in a bit of a muddle, which is why I've come here, because anyone who is anyone in the technology industry at some point comes here, where all the big technology trade shows and conventions are held.

    CNN Transcript Jan 11, 2004

  • Now I want you to do me another favour, in spite of this stupid muddle, which is probably all my fault.

    The Complete Father Brown

  • Now I want you to do me another favour, in spite of this stupid muddle, which is probably all my fault.

    The Complete Father Brown

  • If our victory has thrown any politician into a muddle, that is not our concern.

    Why North Carolina Voted Dry

Comments

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  • If an eagle sees a bagel

    And the bagel's on a platter

    And the eater of the bagel has his tea poured by a hatter

    While the bird devours the doughnut,

    It's a swooping bagel eagle.

    If the eater is a model

    And the bagel eagle swoopeth,

    But the model fights the eagle,

    That's a bagel eagle model battle.

    And if the model models girdles,

    And the model's own pet poodle

    Is too frightened by the battle

    And piddles on the pavement

    And the piddle forms a puddle

    Which the fighters then splash over,

    That's a bagel eagle girdle model poodle piddle puddle battle.

    BUT if a new law student's beagle

    With a pasta serving scooper

    Legislates over the battle,

    That's a bagel eagle girdle model poodle piddle puddle battle's latent legal beagle noodle ladle MUDDLE

    (Thanks to wertperch at everything2.com)

    August 18, 2007

  • Song quotation on cuddle.

    September 18, 2008

  • I heard somewhere recently that life's a muddle.

    May 12, 2009

  • And I didn't know 'til today that one definition of muddle is 'to make a puddle'. I like that.

    "Everything's in a bit of a muddle today."

    May 12, 2009