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 flodderen, "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.

Definitions of flounder
  1. verb
    move clumsily or struggle to move, as in mud or water
    synonyms: stagger
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    type of:
    walk
    use one's feet to advance; advance by steps
  2. verb
    behave awkwardly; have difficulties
    “She is floundering in college”
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    type of:
    fight, struggle
    make a strenuous or labored effort
  3. noun
    any of various European and non-European marine flatfish
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    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
  4. noun
    flesh of any of various American and European flatfish
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    types:
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    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
Commonly confused words

flounder / founder

To flounder is to struggle, but to founder is to sink like a stone and fail. Both are fun as nouns, not so fun as verbs.

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