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fumble (v.)
mid-15c., "handle clumsily," possibly from Old Norse falma "to fumble, grope." Similar words in Scandinavian and North Sea Germanic (Swedish fumla; Dutch fommelen) suggest onomatopoeia from a sound felt to indicate clumsiness (compare bumble, stumble, and obsolete English famble, fimble of roughly the same meaning). Intransitive sense "do or seek awkwardly" is from 1530s. Sense in football is from 1889. Related: Fumbled; fumbling.
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fumbling (adj.)
1530s, present-participle adjective from fumble (v.). Related: Fumblingly.
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gamble (v.)
"risk something of value on a game of chance," 1726 (implied in gambling), from a dialectal survival of Middle English gammlen, variant of gamenen "to play, jest, be merry," from Old English gamenian "to play, joke, pun," from gamen (see game (n.)), with form as in fumble, etc. Or possibly gamble is from a derivative of gamel "to play games" (1590s), itself likely a frequentative from game. Originally regarded as a slang word. The unetymological -b- may be from confusion with unrelated gambol (v.). Transitive meaning "to squander in gambling" is from 1808. Related: Gambled; gambling.
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