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Etymology 1[edit]

From Old French fondeur, from Latin fundātor.


founder ‎(plural founders)

  1. One who founds, establishes, and erects; one who lays a foundation; an author; one from whom something originates; one who endows.
  2. (genetics) Someone for whose parents one has no data.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle French fondeur, from Latin fundo ‎(pour, melt, cast)


founder ‎(plural founders)

  1. The iron worker in charge of the blast furnace and the smelting operation.
    • 1957, H.R. Schubert, History of the British Iron and Steel Industry, p. 161.
      The term 'founder' was applied in the British iron industry long afterwards to the ironworker in charge of the blast furnace and the smelting operation.
  2. One who casts metals in various forms; a caster.
    a founder of cannon, bells, hardware, or printing types

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle French fondrer ‎(send to the bottom), from Latin fundus ‎(bottom)


founder ‎(third-person singular simple present founders, present participle foundering, simple past and past participle foundered)

  1. (intransitive) Of a ship, to fill with water and sink.
    • 1719, Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
      We were not much more than a quarter of an hour out of our ship but we saw her sink, and then I understood for the first time what was meant by a ship foundering in the sea.
  2. (intransitive) To fall; to stumble and go lame, as a horse.
  3. (transitive) To disable or lame (a horse) by causing internal inflammation and soreness in the feet or limbs.
  4. (intransitive) To fail; to miscarry.
    • Shakespeare
      All his tricks founder.

Usage notes[edit]

Frequently confused with flounder. Both may be applied to the same situation, the difference is the severity of the action: floundering (struggling to maintain position) comes first, followed by foundering (losing it by falling, sinking or failing).


Old French[edit]


From Latin fundō.



  1. (late Anglo-Norman) Alternative spelling of funder


This verb conjugates as a first-group verb ending in -er. The forms that would normally end in *-d, *-ds, *-dt are modified to t, z, t. Old French conjugation varies significantly by date and by region. The following conjugation should be treated as a guide.