Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1500-1600
Origin: Probably from early Dutch moddelen 'to make muddy', from Middle Dutch modde 'mud'

muddle

2 verb
     
muddle2 also muddle up [transitive] especially British English
1 to put things in the wrong order:
Someone's muddled up all the papers on my desk.
The government seems to have lost its way and muddled its priorities.
2 to confuse one person or thing with another, and make a mistake [= mix up]:
The twins are so alike that it's easy to muddle them up.
Spanish and Italian are very similar and I sometimes get them muddled up.
muddle something with something
Be careful not to muddle the files you've already worked on with the others.
3 to confuse someone, especially so that they make a mistake:
Don't muddle her with all the extra details at the moment.
Could you just repeat those figures - I've got a bit muddled up.

muddle along/on

phrasal verb
to continue doing something without having any clear plan or purpose, or without having enough help or support:
There's no point in muddling on in the same old job for ever.
Many of the students complained that they were left to muddle along on their own.

muddle through (something)

phrasal verb
to succeed in doing something with difficulty, or not in a very satisfactory way:
There were some difficult questions but I managed to muddle through.
The team managed to muddle through another season.

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