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From Middle Dutch moddelen (to make muddy), from Middle Dutch modde, mod (mud) (Modern Dutch modder). Compare German Kuddelmuddel.


  • (file)
    Rhymes: -ʌdəl


muddle (third-person singular simple present muddles, present participle muddling, simple past and past participle muddled)

  1. To mix together, to mix up; to confuse.
    Young children tend to muddle their words.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of F. W. Newman to this entry?)
  2. To mash slightly for use in a cocktail.
    He muddled the mint sprigs in the bottom of the glass.
  3. To dabble in mud.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Jonathan Swift to this entry?)
  4. To make turbid or muddy.
    • L'Estrange
      He did ill to muddle the water.
  5. To think and act in a confused, aimless way.
  6. To cloud or stupefy; to render stupid with liquor; to intoxicate partially.
    • Bentley
      Their old master Epicurus seems to have had his brains so muddled and confounded with them, that he scarce ever kept in the right way.
    • Arbuthnot
      often drunk, always muddled
  7. To waste or misuse, as one does who is stupid or intoxicated.
    • Hazlitt
      They muddle it [money] away without method or object, and without having anything to show for it.

Derived terms[edit]



muddle (plural muddles)

  1. A mixture; a confusion; a garble.
    The muddle of nervous speech he uttered did not have much meaning.
  2. (cooking and cocktails) A mixture of crushed ingredients, as prepared with a muddler.


Derived terms[edit]