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



    BrE BrE//ˈmʌdl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈmʌdl//
    (especially British English)
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  1. 1[countable, usually singular] a state of mental confusion Can you start from the beginning again—I'm in a muddle.
  2. 2[countable, usually singular, uncountable] muddle (about/over something) a situation in which there is confusion about arrangements, etc. and things are done wrong There was a muddle over the theatre tickets. There followed a long period of confusion and muddle.
  3. 3[countable, usually singular, uncountable] a state of confusion in which things are untidy synonym mess My papers are all in a muddle.
  4. Word Originlate 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 The house was in a awful muddle by the time the children left. The judge made a muddle of the case. There was a bureaucratic muddle over his appointment. Don’t just throw your tools into the shed in a muddle. He picked up a dirty glass, part of the muddle on the mantelpiece. My desk was the usual muddle of books, files and papers. My papers are all in a muddle.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: muddle