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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Brando's career was floundering when he was offered the role.
▪ The lifeguard saw some little kids floundering in the shallow water.
▪ The team was floundering in the first half of the season.
▪ Caroline realised that she was floundering in such a morass of conflicting emotions that she hardly knew what to resent most.
▪ If the economy is floundering and confidence has faltered, a burst of spending might do the trick in turning around expectations.
▪ Marriages and other relationships floundered under the pressure.
▪ One of the heaviest performers at the seaside track, Between Times was floundering after a slow start.
▪ The sick horse, on the inside, floundered among the rocks and deep snow.
▪ The Steady State Theory floundered on for a few more years, being continually revised, but eventually its three proponents conceded defeat.
▪ They can also help a floundering organization extricate itself from the depths of a self-inflicted malaise.
▪ Dover's town beach for flounder.
▪ Southwold to Brightlingsea poor with flounder and dabs plus occasional sole and plaice from estuaries.
▪ The flounder population is also on the increase.
▪ The flounder surfaced and asked the fisherman what he wanted.
▪ The flounder told him his wife had her wish, and when the fisherman got home, he saw it was true.
▪ The fisherman trudged to the sea once more, spoke, and the flounder granted the wish.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Flounder \Floun"der\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Floundered; p. pr. & vb. n. Floundering.] [Cf. D. flodderen to flap, splash through mire, E. flounce, v.i., and flounder the fish.] To fling the limbs and body, as in making efforts to move; to struggle, as a horse in the mire, or as a fish on land; to roll, toss, and tumble; to flounce.

They have floundered on from blunder to blunder.
--Sir W. Hamilton.


Flounder \Floun"der\, n. The act of floundering.


Flounder \Floun"der\, n. [Cf. Sw. flundra; akin to Dan. flynder, Icel. fly?ra, G. flunder, and perh. to E. flounder, v.i.]

  1. (Zo["o]l.) A flatfish of the family Pleuronectid[ae], of many species.

    Note: The common English flounder is Pleuronectes flesus. There are several common American species used as food; as the smooth flounder ( P. glabra); the rough or winter flounder ( P. Americanus); the summer flounder, or plaice ( Paralichthys dentatus), Atlantic coast; and the starry flounder ( Pleuronectes stellatus).

  2. (Bootmaking) A tool used in crimping boot fronts.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"struggle awkwardly and impotently," especially when hampered somehow, 1590s, of uncertain origin, perhaps an alteration of founder (q.v.), influenced by Dutch flodderen "to flop about," or native verbs in fl- expressing clumsy motion. Figurative use is from 1680s. Related: Floundered; floundering. As a noun, "act of struggling," by 1867.


"flatfish," c.1300, from Anglo-French floundre, Old North French flondre, from Old Norse flydhra, from Proto-Germanic *flunthrjo (cognates: Middle Low German vlundere, Danish flynder, Old Swedish flundra "flatfish"), suffixed and nasalized form of PIE *plat- "to spread" (cognate: Greek platys "flat, wide, broad;" see plaice).


Etymology 1 n. 1 A European species of flatfish having dull brown colouring with reddish-brown blotches; fluke, European flounder, (taxlink Platichthys flesus species noshow=1). 2 (context North America English) Any of various flatfish of the family Pleuronectidae or Bothidae. 3 A bootmaker's tool for crimping boot fronts. Etymology 2

vb. 1 (context intransitive English) To flop around as a fish out of water. 2 (context intransitive English) To make clumsy attempts to move or regain one's balance. 3 (context intransitive English) To act clumsy or confused; to struggle or be flustered.

  1. n. flesh of any of various American and European flatfish

  2. any of various European and non-European marine flatfish

  3. v. walk with great difficulty; "He staggered along in the heavy snow" [syn: stagger]

  4. behave awkwardly; have difficulties; "She is floundering in college"


Flounders are a group of flatfish species. They are demersal fish found at the bottom of oceans around the world; some species will also enter estuaries.

Usage examples of "flounder".

Only Doctor wa Danio back there now, floundering a little in the snow.

For a moment she floundered, wondering how to explain the firedrake without giving away the secrets of the Shadowleague.

During a flounder gigging trip on a moonless night, he had tried to use the harpoon to gig the flounder exposed in the soft mud flats and sandbars by the light of a lantern on a johnboat.

We would let the boat drift over shallow water and take turns gigging flounder that had buried themselves in sand to await prey passing overhead.

Could I leave you and Moji to flounder out here with Nevyev and his ore brewers?

Almost as soon as he left the path, he lost his direction in the densely packed pandanus and pisonia trees, and was floundering up to his knees in the sandy soil that the muttonbirds had riddled with their burrows.

They are good shots, fine horsemen, ready speakers and ardent politicians, but, like all noncommercial people, they flounder hopelessly in what people of this section would consider simple mathematical processes.

The fine,- nonporous soil became a sea of mud, miring the horses to their hocks and setting them floundering.

The fine, nonporous soil became a sea of mud, miring the horses to their hocks and setting them floundering.

Agenor felt that he had not convinced Pandion and that the youth was floundering in a sea of indecision between two strong affections, one that chained him to the house and the other that beckoned him from afar, despite the certainty of danger.

Dolores and Quilty write the rules for the games in the central section of Part Two, where she emerges as the successful strategist and playmaker, with skills that leave Humbert floundering as the crazed victim.

He had been something of a scourge in his time, all right -- a tough-minded, hell-raising boy wonder who had taken over a floundering Midnight Detective in 1942, when he was twenty-three years old and a 4-F asthmatic, and kept it -- and more than a dozen other detective, Western, love, and air-war pulps -- alive during the war and for nearly a decade afterward.

Behind, the ungainly scapha floundered amid lapping wavelets, a floating marker to the graves of three men, and the monsters of Treachery Bay.

Now a camel, so good on sand that is its native heath, is a worthless brute among stones, over which it slips and flounders.

Then another man was gotten to run against Ralph, and it went the same-like way: for Ralph smote him amidst of the shield, and the spear held, so that he fell floundering off his horse.