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

  • transitive v. To make turbid or muddy.
  • transitive v. To mix confusedly; jumble.
  • transitive v. To confuse or befuddle (the mind), as with alcohol. See Synonyms at confuse.
  • transitive v. To mismanage or bungle.
  • transitive v. To stir or mix (a drink) gently.
  • intransitive v. To think, act, or proceed in a confused or aimless manner: muddled along through my high-school years.
  • n. A disordered condition; a mess or jumble.
  • n. Mental confusion.
  • muddle through To push on to a favorable outcome in a disorganized way.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. A mess; dirty confusion; filth.
  • n. Intellectual confusion; cloudiness; bewilderment.
  • n. A kind of chowder; a pottle made with crackers. See pottle, 2.

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

  • v. make into a puddle
  • n. a confused multitude of things
  • n. informal terms for a difficult situation
  • v. mix up or confuse


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.


  • 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

  • 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

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

    Why North Carolina Voted Dry

  • Each term the muddle of purchasing textbooks bogs down many stressed-out students.

    Daily Vanguard RSS

  • Here were deliciously flawed and human characters, perplexed by love and desire, and trying, as Bernadette Peters's character, the actress Desiree Armfeldt, puts it at one point, "to seek a coherent life" to take the place of the "muddle" that confuses and torments them.

    Albert Imperato: My First Time Seeing Sondheim's A Little Night Music

  • 'Dear me " I've been married all these years to Quentin " and still he makes this kind of muddle without my knowing!

    An Open Letter to Fans of South Plains Football


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  • 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

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

    May 12, 2009

  • Song quotation on cuddle.

    September 18, 2008

  • 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

    August 18, 2007