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Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 15, 2021 is:
flounder FLOUN-der verb
1 : to struggle to move or obtain footing : thrash about wildly
2 : to proceed or act clumsily or ineffectually
“Tech geeks will read the book with knowing amusement; those of us floundering in the rarefied air will encounter baffling jargon and acronyms scattered like birdseed through the pages.” — Lee Langley, The Spectator, 29 May 2021
“Several times, just when we think we know how ‘Unsettled Ground’ will unfold, Fuller pulls the rug out from under us, leaving us, too, floundering to find our footing.” — Marcia Kaye, The Toronto Star, 22 May 2021
Did you know?
Flounder is a relatively common verb that current evidence dates to the late 16th century, when it was likely born by means of an alteration of an older verb, founder. The two have been confused ever since. Today, founder is most often used as a synonym of fail, or, in the case of a waterborne vessel, as a word meaning “to fill with water and sink.” Formerly, it was also frequently applied when a horse stumbled badly and was unable to keep walking. It’s likely this sense of founder led to the original and now-obsolete meaning of flounder: “to stumble.” In modern use, flounder typically means “to struggle” or “to act clumsily”; the word lacks the finality of founder, which usually denotes complete collapse or failure, as that of a sunken ship.