If you're a football fan you know all about the agony of the fumble — the clumsy handling of the ball that makes you drop it or lose possession.

Fumbling is an uncoordinated movement that can involve your entire body, not just your hands. Witness the poor parent of a newborn trying to fumble with a diaper on at three in the morning. Fumble has a more metaphorical meaning as well, meaning to mess up or mishandle. Politicians are often accused of fumbling the major issues.

Definitions of fumble
  1. verb
    feel about uncertainly or blindly
    synonyms: grope
    see moresee less
    type of:
    look for, search, seek
    try to locate or discover, or try to establish the existence of
  2. verb
    make one's way clumsily or blindly
    “He fumbled towards the door”
    synonyms: blunder
    see moresee less
    type of:
    go across, go through, pass
    go across or through
  3. verb
    handle clumsily
    see moresee less
    type of:
    handle, palm
    touch, lift, or hold with the hands
  4. verb
    drop or juggle or fail to play cleanly a grounder
    fumble a grounder”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    participate in games or sport
  5. verb
    make a mess of, destroy, or ruin
  6. noun
    (sports) dropping the ball
    synonyms: muff
    see moresee less
    type of:
    bloomer, blooper, blunder, boo-boo, botch, bungle, flub, foul-up, pratfall
    an embarrassing mistake
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week