From Old Norse, akin to Swedish dialect bangla (to work ineffectually), from Old Swedish bunga (to strike). Compare German Bengel (cudgel; rude fellow), Middle High German bungen (to hammer).

The noun derives from the verb.


  • IPA(key): /ˈbʌŋ.ɡ(ə)l/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌŋɡəl


bungle (third-person singular simple present bungles, present participle bungling, simple past and past participle bungled)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To botch up, bumble or incompetently perform a task; to make or mend clumsily; to manage awkwardly.

Derived termsEdit



bungle (plural bungles)

  1. A botched or incompetently handled situation.
    • 1888, Henry Lawson, United Division:
      The Soudan bungle was born partly of sentimental loyalty and partly of the aforementioned jealousy existing between the colonies, and now at a time when the colonies should club closer together our Government is doing all they can to widen the breach by trying to pass a bill enabling New South Wales to monopolise the name “Australia”.