Etymology
Advertisement

flounder (v.)

"struggle awkwardly and impotently," especially when hampered somehow, 1590s, of uncertain origin, perhaps from an alteration of founder (n.), 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.

flounder (n.)

"flatfish," c. 1300, from Anglo-French floundre, Old North French flondre, from Old Norse flydhra, from Proto-Germanic *flunthrjo (source also of Middle Low German vlundere, Danish flynder, Old Swedish flundra "flatfish"), suffixed and nasalized form of PIE root *plat- "to spread."

updated on May 31, 2017

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of flounder from WordNet
1
flounder (v.)
walk with great difficulty;
Synonyms: stagger
flounder (v.)
behave awkwardly; have difficulties;
She is floundering in college
2
flounder (n.)
flesh of any of various American and European flatfish;
flounder (n.)
any of various European and non-European marine flatfish;
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.