Main definitions of flounder in English

: flounder1flounder2

flounder1

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1 Struggle or stagger helplessly or clumsily in water or mud.

    ‘he was floundering about in the shallow offshore waters’
    • ‘I have an image of myself, floundering in the rising water as I try to cling to floating stems, my feathers bedraggled and flying out in all directions.’
    • ‘The couple kicked their runners off, grabbed two life-buoys and waded in to where the mother and son were floundering in deep water.’
    • ‘Kris laughed and watched her flounder around a bit, and scream and giggle.’
    • ‘What would floundering around in the water have done to him?’
    • ‘A witness said Davis, a good swimmer, began floundering in the water.’
    • ‘She was floundering in the deep pool, the water getting steadily deeper instead of shallower, her meagre supply of strength rapidly sapping as she struggled.’
    • ‘She choked, and floundered, but only succeeded in taking in more water.’
    • ‘It was true, the steam ship was pulling away rapidly from the docks, followed by a handful of Spaniards who did not board it quickly enough and were left floundering in the cold water.’
    • ‘The others watched him kick and flounder as he struggled up, then saw his feet disappear.’
    • ‘Nonetheless, a few braver souls plunged into the surf to capture the trio who now floundered in water, which now swallowed them up.’
    • ‘Children who had plunged 30 feet off the bridge floundered in the muddy waters, trying to reach dry land.’
    • ‘The boys then stood there and laughed at her as she floundered around in the water, her wet hair plastered over her face.’
    • ‘Halfway there he got into difficulties and left me with two floundering swimmers to occupy my frantic mind.’
    • ‘A person who struggles and flounders over lots of letters as he/she staggers through a paragraph cannot be called a good enough reader.’
    • ‘Mentally, it was like floundering through mud.’
    • ‘Not the famous dive, of course, where you flounder about in 5m of water while a score of 2m rays try to suck you to death.’
    • ‘If the deer had floundered, she'd have gone into the water herself.’
    • ‘I saw a sailor floundering in the oil cast waters nearby and headed for him.’
    struggle, thrash, thresh, flail, toss and turn, twist and turn, pitch, splash, stagger, stumble, falter, lurch, blunder, fumble, grope, squirm, writhe
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Struggle mentally; show or feel great confusion.
      ‘she floundered, not knowing quite what to say’
      • ‘Once in Ireland, he floundered in a confused situation, victim of Charles I's tricky diplomacy.’
      • ‘As an adolescent, I was floundering in my search for an identity, struggling to assemble some kind of personality I could wear without shame.’
      • ‘Even if your chosen operator flounders from one blunder to another, the industry's ongoing consolidation will almost certainly come to the rescue.’
      • ‘When I'm floundering at a pitch, they think, ‘He must be some kind of genius or something.’’
      • ‘Some say that it wards off depression and this may be so, as people who enjoy sharp mental faculties are more likely to be confident and outgoing than those who flounder around in a mental fog.’
      • ‘They halfheartedly asked a one or two questions and I flailed and floundered for an hour and at last I said ‘Well, that's all I've got.’’
      • ‘In fact, the only things he was sure of was that he was far south of Sindark, floundering about in an unknown land where every hand was potentially hostile.’
      • ‘While her classmates floundered through Ted Hughes and RS Thomas like a confused flock of sheep, Agbabi leapt from tuft to intellectual tuft, exploring the landscape.’
      • ‘At its lowest it can dissolve our sense of identity and capacity to function as a separate individual, leaving us floundering in confusion, chaos and psychotic breakdown.’
      • ‘It allowed her sister to punish her over and over and over again, to watch her flounder, to watch her fail.’
      • ‘However, with these types of historical documents, the risk of not including a preface is that the uninitiated could flounder through confusing language and unfamiliar historical episodes.’
      • ‘We are floundering about, trying to find the path, and they have deliberately said east where it's west, north where it's south, up where it's down, green where it's blue.’
      • ‘Nor did she want to be in her second year of college, still floundering about for any sense of direction or any idea of what she wanted to do with her life.’
      • ‘His conscience flounders in inchoate confusion as he tries to decide what his surface actions should accomplish instead of asking how their long-term consequences will unfold.’
      • ‘Instead we're floundering in a sea of confusion.’
      • ‘Perhaps fandom has colored my reaction to Season Five, but I found it annoying right out of the gate, and then watched it flounder about for a firm direction.’
      • ‘Without our history we are nothing - a building without foundations - simply a mess of people floundering about trying to do what makes them happiest.’
      • ‘Because four years of mind-numbing lectures have dulled my mental reflexes, I momentarily floundered in a sea of possible replies.’
      • ‘The worthy outcome for students taking a geometry course is not only proving and learning a set of theorems, but acquiring of mental habits that save them from floundering in the conduct of life.’
    2. 1.2Be in serious difficulty.
      ‘many firms are floundering’
      • ‘Championing lower cable prices via legislation is a no-lose proposition for Frank, who may well be content to let the bill flounder.’
      • ‘She was immediately given a part in a big-screen biopic about champion cyclist Graeme Obree, which later floundered after the project ran into financial difficulties.’
      • ‘For most of the strike the Ghattahoochee Valley workers saw their movement flounder, with only occasional outbreaks of violence.’
      • ‘Sometimes a firm flounders, and its owners seek to recover some fraction of their investment by selling the firm.’
      • ‘Some component firms prospered but many more specialist car component enterprises floundered.’
      • ‘She experiments, even at the risk of stumbling and floundering.’
      • ‘If that happens, it will be more difficult for the country's floundering $2.4 trillion economy to pull itself out of recession.’
      • ‘In Japan, which unfortunately continues to flounder, any negative effect on global trade would be serious for its very many household-name exporting companies.’
      • ‘The emerging markets of eastern Europe represent hoped-for market segments, but, with their economies floundering, penetration of these markets has been difficult.’
      • ‘They charge that the cutbacks are so severe that the firm will be left floundering once the market recovers.’
      • ‘He also knows that the repeated attempts by this government to take on the unions in a serious way are floundering.’
      • ‘Despite good supporting work from Keener, the film flounders with muddled pacing and a confusing point of view.’
      • ‘Vast layoffs, pay cuts and a floundering economy have been difficult factors for galleries and publishers to deal with.’
      • ‘Perhaps with his assistance, a few of the 32 now being proposed will flounder - though no-one is seriously suggesting that there should be wind farms everywhere.’
      • ‘As obvious as this is, most small businesses still miss a couple of key points and then wonder why their businesses flounder or at best stumble along.’

Usage

See founder

Origin

Late 16th century: perhaps a blend of founder and blunder, or perhaps symbolic, fl- frequently beginning words connected with swift or sudden movement.

Pronunciation:

flounder

/ˈfloundər/

Main definitions of flounder in English

: flounder1flounder2

flounder2

noun

  • 1A small flatfish that typically occurs in shallow coastal water.

    • ‘It looked like a flounder, although I couldn't be sure, and it was mounted on a panel, in a trophy-like manner.’
    • ‘Her ‘daddykins’ was currently clenching his teeth, taking turns staring fiercely at Caelia and the bread, opening and closing his mouth like a flounder.’
    • ‘The other one is sand sole which I suppose is equivalent to a flounder here.’
    • ‘Populations of cod, haddock, halibut, red drum and yellowtail flounder are at record lows.’
    • ‘I can never get past the whole flounder with bone in.’
    • ‘I'm a grilled flounder / white wine sort of girl.’
    • ‘It is also widely believed that these floats also act as a visual attractor to the ever curious flounder.’
    • ‘The mine is designed to camouflage itself into the ocean sediments, much like a flounder or stingray does.’
    • ‘They show considerable sequence homology to pleurocidins, antimicrobial peptides of the flounder, Pseudopleuronectes americanus.’
    • ‘They seem to have also eaten flounder, whiting, plaice, cod and brown trout too.’
    • ‘The heaviest flounder, gafftop catfish and sheepshead each is worth a Scout 175 Sportfish center console rigged with a 90 Mercury and a McClain trailer.’
    • ‘Not certain how to get past the human barricade, it scampered about for 10 minutes, before fleeing in the distinctive shape of a flounder.’
    • ‘Among the aquaculture species, microsatellite maps have been published on rainbow trout, catfish, tilapia, and Japanese flounder, but not on Atlantic salmon.’
    • ‘I met my first goldentail moray while free swimming between coral heads, and discovered a peacock flounder with its head in the sand.’
    • ‘Then we would come down behind the net, making a noise and splashing the water to move the flounder.’
    • ‘The study was spurred by previous observations of feminization in estuarine fish, particularly the flounder, a common flatfish, Matthiessen said.’
    • ‘And there was a point where I yelled something like, ‘Everyone dance like a flounder!’’
    • ‘We managed to get peeks of banded pipefish, and a peacock flounder at the aptly named Blue Ridge.’
    • ‘The flounder is common in estuaries and the tidal waters of rivers, and especially abundant in the Baltic Sea.’
    • ‘Not a man will boast that he himself has pulled in even a flounder, but they are certain their brothers, on more fortunate boats, have prospered from great catches.’
    1. 1.1A collective term for flatfishes other than soles.
      • ‘So when you see your dog flopping around like a flounder, take a breath.’
      • ‘Fortunately the flounder is a robust fish which, with careful handling, will easily go back and swim away to fight another day.’
      • ‘It enabled the marae to extend its reservation in order to look after its flounder and oyster beds.’
      • ‘He was more like a flounder than an otter, though, as he made his international debut in the 400m freestyle at the Aquatics Centre yesterday (Tuesday).’
      • ‘With flounder, sole, fluke, turbot, halibut, bass, trout, John Dory or orange roughy, we must tread lightly, especially with regard to bitterness.’
      • ‘Using special head organs, the predators can detect even the slightest muscle twitch of a flounder buried in sand.’
      • ‘Leo led her inside the building, which had a huge flounder painted on it.’
      • ‘Neither was it a flounder, which couldn't have pulled so hard unless it was tail-wrapped and weighed 10 pounds.’
      • ‘A swarm of seagulls circle aloft, darting down in random attempts to steal a flounder.’
      • ‘Guy's obsession for Virginia seems inexplicably foolish when aimed at an actress with a face like a flounder and a talent to match.’
      • ‘Not just cod but other groundfish, including flounder, halibut and haddock, were decimated.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French flondre, probably of Scandinavian origin and related to Danish flynder.

Pronunciation:

flounder

/ˈfloundər/