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
nounpl. -·der or -·ders
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 … floundered professionally, never quite deciding what they wanted to do” ( Steve Olson ) See Usage Note at founder 1.
Origin of flounderProbably alteration of founder 1
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).