flounder

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English[edit]

An European flounder, Platichthys flesus.

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Anglo-Norman floundre, from Old Northern French flondre, from Old Norse flyðra[1][2]. Cognate with Danish flynder, German Flunder, Swedish flundra.

Noun[edit]

flounder (plural flounders or flounder)

  1. A European species of flatfish having dull brown colouring with reddish-brown blotches; fluke, European flounder, Platichthys flesus.
  2. (North America) Any of various flatfish of the family Pleuronectidae or Bothidae.
  3. A bootmaker's tool for crimping boot fronts.
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Particularly: "the bootmaker's tool"
Translations[edit]
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External links[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Possibly from the noun. Possibly from founder or from Dutch flodderen (wade). See other terms beginning with fl, such as flutter, flitter, float, flap, flub, flip

Verb[edit]

flounder (third-person singular simple present flounders, present participle floundering, simple past and past participle floundered)

  1. (intransitive) To flop around as a fish out of water.
  2. (intransitive) To make clumsy attempts to move or regain one's balance.
    Robert yanked Connie's leg vigorously, causing her to flounder and eventually fall.
  3. (intransitive) To act clumsily or confused; to struggle or be flustered.
    • Sir W. Hamilton
      They have floundered on from blunder to blunder.
    He gave a good speech, but floundered when audience members asked questions he could not answer well.
    • 1996, Janette Turner Hospital, Oyster, Virago Press, paperback edition, page 136
      He is assessing directions, but he is not lost, not floundering.
Usage notes[edit]

Frequently confused with the verb founder. The difference is one of severity; floundering (struggling to maintain a position) comes before foundering (losing it completely by falling, sinking or failing).

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ flounder” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).
  2. ^ flynder” in Ordbog over det danske Sprog