Definition of addle in English:



  • 1humorous [with object] Make (someone) unable to think clearly; confuse.

    ‘being in love must have addled your brain’
    • ‘He felt silly that he'd allowed her muddled ravings to addle him in the first place.’
    • ‘It must have really addled his brain for him not to understand something this basic and this obvious.’
    • ‘The drugs have addled him so much that it takes pot, alcohol, ecstasy, Special K and GHB to give him that special happy feeling now when he goes out.’
    • ‘Try as I may, though, it's been a dull day, with my brain partly addled by pain-killers.’
    • ‘We're addled by Arizona's talent, impressed by the Wildcats' intensity, and downright dipsy-doodled by their depth.’
    • ‘Even though my brain is addled with cough syrup and Advil, the fabulous feeling of freedom is not lost on me.’
    • ‘This damned heat has addled many people's wits, mine included: made us sluggish, unquestioning, apathetic.’
    • ‘The fact that she was even considering the idea showed that he'd quite addled her brain, she thought.’
    • ‘He knew the drugs Paul had given him would addle his brain, but surely not to the extent he couldn't follow a conversation with his little brother.’
    • ‘The Bethany Bash is to be held this Friday and Saturday and aptly called ‘Double Bheja Fry’ because it promises to addle your brains with fun and frolic.’
    • ‘Was it conceivable that the drugs he had been given for pain had permanently addled his brain?’
    • ‘I think the alcohol from last night has addled your brain, because you couldn't be more far off.’
    • ‘Has that second bottle of Beaujolais addled his brain, inducing some kind of hallucinatory fever?’
    • ‘I vaguely remember a similarly soaked occasion when I was a child, where I tried to shake like a dog and my mother said it addled the brain.’
    • ‘This was all very strange to Helano; it was confusing and addling her brain.’
    • ‘That swim you took must have addled your brains more than I thought.’
    • ‘‘Your friend,’ stated Jeff and went to his own room, no doubt to immerse himself in all his stupid computer games that I was sure was addling his brain.’
    muddled, confused, fuddled, befuddled, bewildered, dazed, dizzy, disoriented, disorientated, stupefied, unbalanced, unhinged, demented, deranged
    discombobulated, woolly, muzzy, woozy, dopey, not with it, bamboozled, fazed
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  • 2[no object] (of an egg) become rotten, producing no chick.

    ‘the extremely hot and dry weather had caused the eggs to addle’
    • ‘There is an unpleasant smell in the goose shed and we suspect that the early laid eggs have addled.’
    • ‘If a bird keeps leaving her eggs and only pops in for a quick visit from time to time, the eggs will addle and come to nothing.’
    • ‘There she was, sitting as usual, and I was so concerned, believing that due to my interference all the eggs had addled—for I thought the hatching time was three weeks.’
    • ‘At 106 degrees, the eggs will addle (become unviable) or nestlings will die of heat stress.’
    rotten, off, decayed, decomposed, decomposing, putrid, putrefied, putrescent, mouldy, mouldering
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  • 1[in combination] Not clear or cogent; muddled.

    ‘the film is addle-brained’
  • 2archaic (of an egg) rotten.


Middle English (in addle): from Old English adela ‘liquid filth’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch aal and German Adel mire, puddle.