From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishmuddlemud‧dle1 /ˈmʌdl/ noun 1 → be in a muddle/get into a muddle2 CONFUSED[countable usually singular, uncountable] when there is confusion about something, and things are done wrong as a result Our accountant finally managed to sort out the muddle.muddle over/about There was a bit of a muddle over our hotel reservations.
Examples from the Corpusmuddle• Unless, of course, there had been a muddle in the names.• Gerald Ford getting into a muddle about what was and wasn't a Warsaw Pact country.• It is too valuable a document of human heartbreak and muddle to be scorned or dismissed.• Over the years the generations had gotten into a chronological muddle.• She could sense his muddle, and it touched her.• a legal muddle• Nevertheless, if we allow ourselves to be swayed by every fashion that comes along, we live in a perpetual muddle.• This book assesses the technological fix for the muddle left by downsizing and reengineering.• None of the muddle in her room mattered.muddle over/about• Gerald Ford getting into a muddle about what was and wasn't a Warsaw Pact country.• There was a muddle about his origins, wasn't there?• You can see why it is easy to be muddled about carbohydrate.• Was it muddled over the association between money wage changes and real wage changes?muddlemuddle2 (also muddle up) verb [transitive] especially British English 1 CONFUSEDto 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 SYN 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 CONFUSEDto 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 → muddle through (something)→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusmuddle• Several incidents are clever and revealing, others muddled.• You can see why it is easy to be muddled about carbohydrate.• They muddled around the fringes of true power, never quite brave enough or decisive enough to take the plunge.• I found them to be muddled, frightened, weary.• Passion starts to muddle my thinking.• The lines between re-creations and reality are so muddled that some news programs have even used Hollywood films to illustrate news stories.• You muddle through, reduced to selling your own ads to make a decent buck.• While children were very young it was possible to muddle through.Origin muddle2 (1500-1600) Probably from early Dutch moddelen “to make muddy”, from Middle Dutch modde “mud”