Definition of muddy the waters in English:

muddy the waters


  • Make an issue or situation more confused or complicated.

    ‘the conflation of two distinct hypotheses has merely served to muddy the waters’
    • ‘I'm bound to say that I can't see the difference, and suspect he wants to muddy the waters and befuddle the voters.’
    • ‘These comments were then picked up and distorted, to further discredit my work, and muddy the waters on the Genetic Modification issue.’
    • ‘I understand that there's new legislation in South Africa which is going to perhaps, depending on which way you look at it, clarify the situation or muddy the waters.’
    • ‘The last thing we need is to have a bunch of pajama-clad amateurs muddying up the waters with their irresponsible guessing-games.’
    • ‘Indonesia's economic collapse only served to muddy the waters.’
    • ‘And this, I believe is, the true brilliance of the design: a clever balance between mechanisms that reveal information and mechanisms that serve to muddy the waters.’
    • ‘But other recommendations muddy the waters, by confusing issues of individual freedom with the imposition of various forms of responsibility.’
    • ‘Sensational and unproven claims on behalf of Baird which he never made himself only serve to muddy the waters and undermine the credibility of his other achievements.’
    • ‘Because you begin thinking this person has, sort of, muddied the waters.’
    • ‘Obviously, the Republicans read the same polls as Democrats, and will try to muddy the waters on key issues like education and Social Security.’
    • ‘If anything, it has served to only further muddy the waters.’
    • ‘It's a version of events which Maradona himself denies, but Alberti's quotes, if anything, further served to muddy the waters.’
    • ‘When, however, they begin competing with each other to offer large sums of money as inducements to potential witnesses, they are muddying the waters of justice rather than clarifying them.’
    • ‘What really muddies the waters, though, is the introduction of the angel.’
    • ‘The waters are muddied by a Christian inheritance which provides conflicting models and doctrine.’
    • ‘This is a cheap political trick to try and muddy the waters just before an election.’
    • ‘Moreover, positive and negative objectives may be stated explicitly or only implied, which further muddies the water in terms of evaluating results.’
    • ‘It isn't the journalists muddying the waters, it's Labour's spin machine.’
    • ‘But I do think that this scheme is giving a different message, and it is muddying the waters and quite confusing for younger children.’
    • ‘After this abrupt and confusing start, waters are only muddied further by the constant intervention of some rather pointless and badly executed film footage.’
    make vague, make unclear, make less distinct
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