flounder

A flounder is a flat fish with both eyes on one side of its head; and, as a verb, to flounder is to wobble around like a fish out of water.

To flounder is to be unsteady or uncertain. It's probably from the Dutch word floddern, "to flop about," or it's a mix of founder ("to fail") and blunder ("do something clumsy"). If you flounder in the ocean, you need a surfer dude to scoop you up. You don't have to be in water, though; you can flounder any time you're a little wobbly — like after a long hike or during the last hour of the SATs. Either way, when you flounder, you wish you were a flat fish at the bottom of the sea.

Primary Meanings of flounder

1.
v
walk with great difficulty
2.
n
any of various European and non-European marine flatfish
Full Definitions of flounder
1

v walk with great difficulty

Synonyms:
stagger
Type of:
walk
use one's feet to advance; advance by steps

v behave awkwardly; have difficulties

“She is floundering in college”
Type of:
fight, struggle
make a strenuous or labored effort
2

n any of various European and non-European marine flatfish

Type of:
flatfish
any of several families of fishes having flattened bodies that swim along the sea floor on one side of the body with both eyes on the upper side

n flesh of any of various American and European flatfish

Types:
show 5 types...
hide 5 types...
yellowtail flounder
flesh of American flounder having a yellowish tail
plaice
flesh of large European flatfish
turbot
flesh of a large European flatfish
sand dab
the lean flesh of a small flounder from the Pacific coast of North America
lemon sole, winter flounder
flesh of American flounder; important in the winter
Type of:
flatfish
sweet lean whitish flesh of any of numerous thin-bodied fish; usually served as thin fillets

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.