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


  • IPA(key): /ˈmʌdəl/
  • (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 (Can we date this quote?)
      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 (Can we date this quote?)
      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 (Can we date this quote?)
      often drunk, always muddled
  7. To waste or misuse, as one does who is stupid or intoxicated.
    • Hazlitt (Can we date this quote?)
      They muddle it [money] away without method or object, and without having anything to show for it.

Derived termsEdit



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 termsEdit