v. mud·dled, mud·dling, mud·dles
a. To mix together, especially confusedly: The various flavors are muddled in this recipe.
b. To mix (a drink or the ingredients of a drink), especially with a muddler.
a. To put into a state of confusion; confuse: Emotional rhetoric will only muddle the debate on the issue.
b. To confuse or befuddle (a person or the mind, for example). See Synonyms at befuddle.
3. To mismanage or bungle: muddle a task.
4. To make turbid or muddy.
To think, act, or proceed in a confused or aimless manner: muddled along through my high-school years.
1. A disordered condition; a mess or jumble.
2. A state of mental confusion.
3. See muddler.
To push on to a favorable outcome in a disorganized way.
[Possibly from obsolete Dutch moddelen, to make water muddy, from Middle Dutch, frequentative of *modden, to make muddy, from modde, mud.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.