August 08, 2012
- muddle (verb)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : to be or cause to be confused or bewildered : stupefy2 : to mix up in a confused way3 : to think or act in a confused way : to act, do, make, or work in a confused way
- How do you use it?
- As opening night approached, Eva became increasingly worried that a case of stage fright would cause her to muddle her lines.
- Are you a word wiz?
Language scholars think that the word "muddle" probably comes from one of the languages we've listed. Which one of these languages do you think is believed to be the source of "muddle"?Etymologists—that is, people who study the history of words—think that the verb "muddle" comes from the Dutch word "modde," which means "mud." In fact, one sense of the verb "muddy" also means "become or cause to become confused." Other English words with Dutch origins include the adjective "brackish" which comes from "brac," meaning "salty," and is often used in connection with water, and "brine" which also refers to water that contains a great deal of salt. "Grime" (dirt rubbed into or covering a surface) and "scum" (the often slimy covering that forms on the surface of a liquid) both also come from Dutch.