Definition of fumbling in English:



mass noun
  • 1The action of fumbling.

    • ‘The actors create a relaxed chemistry together as they veer between the solidarity of the three musketeers and the dimwitted fumbling of the three stooges.’
    • ‘My friend Brian says it's high-school fumbling.’
    • ‘This can also be due to a bit of fumbling while lifting the print from the surface where it's found as well as environmental factors.’
    • ‘For the driver, the instruments are easy to read and use, although the door mirror control is hidden by a steering wheel stalk, and a bit of fumbling is needed to use it.’
    • ‘The ones I receive now are rife with disgust at bureaucratic fumbling, with rage at an unspecified they who are in charge of everything from predicting which levees would break to choosing which people will return.’
    1. 1.1informal The action of fondling someone for sexual pleasure.
      ‘a few furtive fumblings and unfulfilled flirtations’
      • ‘There were skirmishes, flirtations and drunken fumblings all the way up the east coast, but never the right person or the right time.’
      • ‘They remember the sharp fear of unwanted pregnancies, and the fumblings in the dark with the woefully inadequate contraceptives that preceded it.’
      • ‘The fumbling gets more intense and nails are traced up my spine, fingers tickle along my neck and she slips her hand into my hair and holds my head tightly.’
      • ‘An orgy of groping and fumbling, and no sexual connotation left untouched.’
      • ‘Or my more recent sexual fumblings and drinking escapades.’
      • ‘Kel, after the obligatory fumblings and experimentation that nearly everyone goes through, had decided that on the whole, he preferred women.’
      • ‘His parties are where beer and hormones mix (sometimes literally) into memories of pretty girls and awkward fumblings.’
      • ‘And they had proper sex, not just fumbling under duvets.’
      • ‘The ignorant fumblings, the personal embarrassment, the ‘is this right?’’
      • ‘The smell of perfume takes me right back to those furtive fumblings.’
      • ‘Sex: just endless hours of mind games which ended in a few minutes of dark, wet fumbling in a strangers bedroom.’
      • ‘Will I be there to embarrass myself amidst a group of relative strangers by relating the fumblings of junior high spin-the-bottle antics?’
      • ‘Almost every scene is suffused with an aesthetic that captures the all too familiar feeling of pubescent gracelessness, be it in the close-ups of lips smacking in the throws of burgermunching or the awkward fumblings of sofa sex.’
      • ‘This stupid, nervous teenage fumbling, making out thing.’
      • ‘Outwardly uncaring but intensely frustrated, Anaïs listens to their nocturnal fumblings in silent fury.’
      • ‘In the city's lavish beaux-arts facades and lobbies, farewell smooches and the rustle of tipsy last minute fumblings, still linger faintly in the air today.’
      • ‘Set in Easter Ross, it follows the Bain family from David and Jean's premarital fumblings to the moment when their grown-up son sets off for a better life across the Atlantic.’
      • ‘With the same detached honesty he famously records the great events, the invaluable ongoing political story, as well as his own foolishnesses and lustful fumblings.’
      • ‘We teach adolescent kids the ways of love, sparing them years of awkward fumblings.’
      • ‘The charge related to a ‘fairly minor incident’ involving some fumbling over the girls' clothes, according to sources.’


  • Doing or handling something clumsily.

    ‘she bolted the door with fumbling fingers’
    • ‘It is interesting (if a little painful) to look back on one's own early fumbling attempts, and I have highlighted my mistakes as well as lessons I learned from them.’
    • ‘I did feel like quite the fumbling fool in that class.’
    • ‘Within little more than 60 years of that first fumbling flight along a North Carolina beach we had left the earth altogether and set foot upon another world.’
    • ‘But, as you would expect, the Inspector is no mug and played our fumbling probing with the skill of an experienced fly fisherman, which in fact he is.’
    • ‘Melan came back to the door and peered out at him, a single figure stood in the middle of a corridor, fiddling with his hoodie like a fumbling child.’
    • ‘If you take the first fumbling attempt at clarity, and miss out the qualifications and the additions, misrepresenting someone is easy.’
    • ‘Coffee and common sense forgotten, she sprinted to the back door and struggled to unlock it with trembling, fumbling fingers, her hip still aching from her impact with the table.’
    • ‘He and his friend from jr. high were both too young to know what they were doing and it ended up just being awkward kisses and fumbling touches in the dark.’
    • ‘Because I didn't know what was wrong and no amount of fumbling self-analysis via a computer screen was going to tell me.’
    • ‘The jackknife was in my hand as soon as my fumbling fingers could manage the pockets on my jumpsuit.’
    • ‘After an hour or so I was ready to connect again and started the long fumbling progress toward establishing reliable web working and email.’
    • ‘So, based on my own stumbling, fumbling experience, I offer the following list of things I would strongly advise aspiring and despairing writers not to do.’
    • ‘Drawing the covers up with a fumbling hand, he draped his arm around the other person in the bed, absently kissing Jane's shoulder as she began to stir.’
    • ‘Yet all of his fumbling relationships are justifiable in terms of the highly-charged lyric poetry they produced.’
    • ‘Robben's shot was powerful enough, but he could not have expected it to slip through Isaksson's fumbling hands, after which the ball bounced against the base of the post.’
    • ‘The fumbling relationships are pathetically innocent.’
    • ‘With fumbling fingers, I slowly took my change from her gentle flour-dusted palms and prayed that she was just a little podgy and not pregnant, catching her eye for another one of those smiles as I jangled out of the door.’
    • ‘Blue yanked her coat on, shoving past them and locking the door with fumbling fingers.’
    • ‘Far from being plugged with a slug of lead, the loser's fumbling fingers have only cost him a little face in front of his fellow fast draw enthusiasts.’
    • ‘There was a fumbling noise as the Propes' answering machine came on.’
    awkward, uncoordinated, ungainly, graceless, ungraceful, inelegant, gawky, gauche, gangling, cloddish, blundering, lumbering
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