AskDefine | Define blunder

Dictionary Definition

blunder n : an embarrassing mistake [syn: blooper, bloomer, bungle, foul-up, fuckup, flub, botch, boner, boo-boo]


1 commit a faux pas or a fault or make a serious mistake; "I blundered during the job interview" [syn: sin, boob, goof]
2 make one's way clumsily or blindly; "He fumbled towards the door" [syn: fumble]
3 utter impulsively; "He blurted out the secret"; "He blundered his stupid ideas" [syn: blurt out, blurt, blunder out, ejaculate]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • (UK) /ˈblʌndə/, /"blVnd@/
  • (US) /ˈblʌndɚ/, /"blVnd@`/
  • Rhymes: -ʌndə(r)


  1. a clumsy or embarrassing mistake



to blunder
  1. to make a stupid mistake
  2. to move blindly or clumsily




  1. blunder; clumsy mistake

Extensive Definition

A blunder is a spectacularly bad decision or action, a mistake or error with detrimental consequences to the party that makes it. It is typically attributable to faulty perception: the result of not reading signs, or misinterpreting available information. Naturally many sensible decisions, which even in retrospect were carefully taken, may also prove disastrous mistakes.
The term blunder is often used to refer to military, diplomatic, political, social or business decisions. The word comes from the Old Norse blundra "shut one's eyes" in the oldest sense in Middle English, "to stumble around blindly" all from a presumed an Indo-European base *bhlendh- that also gave us "blind." This modern sense is dated from 1711.
Examples of actions famously considered to be blunders include: the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Maginot Line, and The Tea Act of 1773 (and related British policy decisions toward the American Colonies). However, there is often considerable debate as to whether a decision leading to failure is truly a "blunder" or merely a reasonable course of action based on the available knowledge at the time. Hindsight usually allows one to see the situation far more clearly.
A less consequential blunder is a faux pas, or a blooper.


In science, plain mistakes are in a sense unavoidable. Some blunders may turn out to have positive consequences. Einstein called his introduction of the so-called cosmological constant the "biggest blunder" of his life, and later abandoned the idea. His comment was because he introduced it to maintain a static universe, not long before the observational evidence turned in favour of expansion. Nowadays this constant is needed, to explain the increasing rate of the expanding universe.


In chess, a blunder is a very bad move, often given the '?' or even '??' sign (see punctuation (chess)). But what counts as a blunder also depends on the player, since a lesser move for a club player may be called a blunder if a Grandmaster plays it. See also: Blunder (chess).
In Go, there is a slightly more nuanced Japanese language term poka, meaning an unworthy slip by a top-level player. Fujisawa Hideyuki, in terms of pure talent one of the greatest go players, was famous for poka.
blunder in Dutch: Blunder

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

absurdity, act of folly, bad job, be all thumbs, bevue, blooper, blow, blunder away, blunder into, blunder on, blunder upon, bobble, boggle, bollix, bonehead play, boner, boo-boo, botch, bull, bumble, bungle, butcher, careen, career, clumsy performance, commit a gaffe, dumb trick, err, error, etourderie, falter, faux pas, flounce, flounder, flub, fluff, folly, foozle, fumble, gaffe, gaucherie, goof, goof up, gum up, hash, howler, imprudence, indiscretion, labor, lapse, louse up, lumber, lurch, make a blunder, make a misstep, mar, mess, miscue, miss, miss the mark, misspeak, mistake, muddle, muff, murder, off day, pitch, pitch and plunge, play havoc with, plunge, reel, rock, roll, sad work, screw up, screw-up, seethe, slip, slip up, snapper, solecism, sottise, spoil, stagger, struggle, stumble, stupid thing, stupidity, sway, swing, thrash about, toss, toss and tumble, toss and turn, totter, trip, tumble, unwise step, wallop, wallow, welter
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