Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1500-1600
Origin: Probably from FOUNDER2

flounder

1 verb
     
floun‧der1 [intransitive]
1 to not know what to say or do because you feel confused or upset:
I found myself floundering as I tried to answer her questions.
'I'm sorry,' she floundered helplessly.
2 to have a lot of problems and be likely to fail completely:
More and more firms are floundering because of the recession.
3 [always + adverb/preposition] to be unable to move easily because you are in deep water or mud, or cannot see very well:
They were floundering chest-deep in the freezing water.
flounder around
I could hear them floundering around in the dark.

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