Definition of muddy the waters in US English:

muddy the waters


  • Make an issue or a situation more confusing by introducing complications.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After this abrupt and confusing start, waters are only muddied further by the constant intervention of some rather pointless and badly executed film footage.’
    • ‘But I do think that this scheme is giving a different message, and it is muddying the waters and quite confusing for younger children.’
    • ‘But other recommendations muddy the waters, by confusing issues of individual freedom with the imposition of various forms of responsibility.’
    • ‘I'm bound to say that I can't see the difference, and suspect he wants to muddy the waters and befuddle the voters.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Indonesia's economic collapse only served to 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Moreover, positive and negative objectives may be stated explicitly or only implied, which further muddies the water in terms of evaluating results.’
    • ‘Obviously, the Republicans read the same polls as Democrats, and will try to muddy the waters on key issues like education and Social Security.’
    • ‘The waters are muddied by a Christian inheritance which provides conflicting models and doctrine.’
    • ‘These comments were then picked up and distorted, to further discredit my work, and muddy the waters on the Genetic Modification issue.’
    • ‘If anything, it has served to only further muddy the waters.’
    • ‘Because you begin thinking this person has, sort of, muddied the waters.’
    • ‘It isn't the journalists muddying the waters, it's Labour's spin machine.’
    • ‘What really muddies the waters, though, is the introduction of the angel.’
    • ‘This is a cheap political trick to try and muddy the waters just before an election.’
    make vague, make unclear, make less distinct
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