English

Definition of muddle verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    muddle

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//ˈmʌdl//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈmʌdl//
     
    (especially British English)Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they muddle
    BrE BrE//ˈmʌdl//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈmʌdl//
     
    he / she / it muddles
    BrE BrE//ˈmʌdlz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈmʌdlz//
     
    past simple muddled
    BrE BrE//ˈmʌdld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈmʌdld//
     
    past participle muddled
    BrE BrE//ˈmʌdld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈmʌdld//
     
    -ing form muddling
    BrE BrE//ˈmʌdlɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈmʌdlɪŋ//
     
     
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  1. 1to put things in the wrong order or mix them up muddle something Don't do that—you're muddling my papers. muddle something up Their letters were all muddled up together in a drawer.
  2. 2muddle somebody (up) to confuse somebody Slow down a little—you're muddling me.
  3. 3muddle somebody/something (up) | muddle A (up) with B to confuse one person or thing with another synonym mix somethingup I muddled the dates and arrived a week early. He got all muddled up about what went where. They look so alike, I always get them muddled up.
  4. Word Origin late Middle English (in the sense ‘wallow in mud’): perhaps from Middle Dutch moddelen, frequentative of modden ‘dabble in mud’; compare with mud. The sense ‘confuse’ was initially associated with alcoholic drink (late 17th cent.), giving rise to ‘busy oneself in a confused way’ and ‘jumble up’ (mid 19th cent.).Extra examples All the cups and saucers have been muddled up. Don’t do that—you’re muddling my papers. Their letters were muddled up together in a drawer. Phrasal Verbsmuddle alongmuddle through
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: muddle