A pair of fresh caught flounder.
- The definition of a flounder is a type of flatfish.
An example of flounder is halibut or turbot served at seafood restaurants.
- Flounder is defined as to stumble or struggle to talk, make a lot of errors, or move in a clumsy way.
An example of flounder is to have trouble speaking without hesitation or losing your train of thought.
- to struggle awkwardly to move, as in deep mud or snow; plunge about in a stumbling manner
- to speak or act in an awkward, confused manner, with hesitation and frequent mistakes
Origin of flounderearlier flunder, uncertain or unknown; perhaps blend of blunder + founder
Origin of flounderMiddle English ; from Scandinavian as in Swedish flundra, akin to German flunder ; from Indo-European base an unverified form pl?t-, flat
intransitive verbfloun·dered, floun·der·ing, floun·ders
- To move clumsily or with little progress, as through water or mud. See Synonyms at blunder.
- To act or function in a confused or directionless manner; struggle: “Some &ellipsis; floundered professionally, never quite deciding what they wanted to do” (Steve Olson). See Usage Note at founder1.
Origin of flounderProbably alteration of founder1.
nounpl. flounder or floun·ders
Origin of flounderMiddle English, from Anglo-Norman floundre, of Scandinavian origin; see plat- in Indo-European roots.
(plural flounders or flounder)
From Anglo-Norman floundre, from Old Northern French flondre, from Old Norse flyðra . Cognate with Danish flynder, German Flunder, Swedish flundra.
(third-person singular simple present flounders, present participle floundering, simple past and past participle floundered)
- (intransitive) To flop around as a fish out of water.
- (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.
- (intransitive) To act clumsily or confused; to struggle or be flustered.
- 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.
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).