fumble

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.

Primary Meanings of fumble

1.
v
feel about uncertainly or blindly
2.
n
(sports) dropping the ball
Full Definitions of fumble
1

v feel about uncertainly or blindly

Synonyms:
grope
Type of:
look for, search, seek
try to locate or discover, or try to establish the existence of

v make one's way clumsily or blindly

“He fumbled towards the door”
Synonyms:
blunder
Type of:
go across, go through, pass
go across or through

v handle clumsily

Type of:
handle, palm
touch, lift, or hold with the hands

v drop or juggle or fail to play cleanly a grounder

fumble a grounder”
Type of:
play
participate in games or sport

v make a mess of, destroy, or ruin

2

n (sports) dropping the ball

Synonyms:
muff
Type of:
bloomer, blooper, blunder, boo-boo, botch, bungle, flub, foul-up, pratfall
an embarrassing mistake

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.