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Bungling   /bˈəŋgəlɪŋ/  /bˈəŋglɪŋ/   Listen
Bungling

adjective
1.
Showing lack of skill or aptitude.  Synonyms: clumsy, fumbling, incompetent.  "Did a clumsy job" , "His fumbling attempt to put up a shelf"
2.
Lacking physical movement skills, especially with the hands.  Synonyms: bumbling, butterfingered, ham-fisted, ham-handed, handless, heavy-handed, left-handed.  "A bungling performance" , "Ham-handed governmental interference" , "Could scarcely empty a scuttle of ashes, so handless was the poor creature"






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"Bungling" Quotes from Famous Books



... as he scrambled into the priest's robe which the discomfited Higgins resigned to him. Evidently the bungling actor was in disgrace, for he was told to go to the office and get his pay and ...
— Aunt Jane's Nieces Out West • Edith Van Dyne

... you that we can rob the seth of his treasure without an outcry—and if there is an outcry, that he will not go back to those of his caste in Poona, and when trouble is made, think you that the Dewan will thank us for the bungling of this? And as to the matter of a thug or a decoit, half our men have been taught the art of the strangler. With these,"—and extending his massive arms he closed his coarse hands in a gnarled ...
— Caste • W. A. Fraser

... ever you make the Parish regret the loss of the stocks, and the overseers come to me with long faces and say, 'the stocks must be rebuilded,' why—" Here from all the youth of the village rose so deprecating a clamor, that the Squire would have been the most bungling orator in the world if he had said a word further on the subject. He elevated the horn over his head—"Why, that's my old Hazeldean again! Health and long life to ...
— The International Monthly, Volume 2, No. 4, March, 1851 • Various

... or get scared. Not that there's much real danger. There mayn't be any, if the thing's cleverly managed. But there must be no bungling; and, above all, no backing out—nothing ...
— The Flag of Distress - A Story of the South Sea • Mayne Reid

... de Grost," he said, placing them upon the table. "If a bungling amateur may make such a request of a professor, may I inquire how you escaped from your bonds, passed through the door of a locked warehouse and reached here ...
— Peter Ruff and the Double Four • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... began, "I do not know what to say. I want to make you understand and I am afraid I may make further mistakes. I see I have wronged you. In a sense, I've been a bungling fool; but as true as God hears me, I didn't want you upon my canvas for any low or mean reason. I swear that as truly as I ever spoke. It seemed my right to make live what I saw in you. Maybe it was not my right—I begin to fear it was not—but it ...
— Janet of the Dunes • Harriet T. Comstock

... made some progress, it was not marked by much improvement. Its charm lay essentially in its simplicity, and to give it full development, retaining unimpaired meanwhile such original excellences as Nature in Sambo shapes and inspires, was the task of the time. But the task fell into bungling hands. The intuitive utterance of the art was misapprehended or perverted altogether. Its naive misconceits were construed into coarse blunders; its pleasing incongruities were resolved into meaningless jargon. Gibberish became the staple of its ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 121, November, 1867 • Various

... bungling marked our departure from Charlotte Town. The captain, a sturdy old Northumbrian seaman, thoroughly understood his business; but the owners of the ship compelled him to share its management with a very pertinacious pilot, and the conflicting ...
— The Englishwoman in America • Isabella Lucy Bird

... "I'm bungling it," thought Jeff, uncomfortably, and stood still, waiting. "Perhaps I ought to have let Evelyn ...
— The Second Violin • Grace S. Richmond

... this would not serve his turn, he named two famous battles, in each of which he had lost half an ear, a fighting like a true man against traitors and rebels. But the hangman showed them the two cuts were made at one time, and by measurement. ''Tis no bungling soldiers' work, my masters,' said he, ''tis ourn.' Then the burgomaster gave judgment: 'The present charge is not proven against thee; but, an thou beest not guilty now, thou hast been at other times, witness thine ears. Wherefore ...
— The Cloister and the Hearth • Charles Reade

... of government, the people of Holland cannot easily overcome a feeling of vague distrust that the nation which in the past has so often abused them cannot entirely be counted upon to treat them justly this time. Incidentally, I may say that the bungling of Mr. Churchill in Antwerp, which we know much better than do the people of England, is another reason why we are a bit afraid of the island across the ...
— New York Times Current History: The European War, Vol 2, No. 1, April, 1915 - April-September, 1915 • Various

... have mended her idol discreetly and permanently, so that for the outward world it would still present the same uncompromising surface, so that no inquisitive or bungling touch could bring to light the grim, disfiguring fracture which it had sustained, it is probable that she would have chosen this part, and hidden the grief of her life from the eyes of all save those who were ...
— A Comedy of Masks - A Novel • Ernest Dowson and Arthur Moore

... was he safe from the clutch of the law? Of these things he had not troubled to think, so assured was he that the mere threat would suffice. From his present point of view it was easy enough to see that the plot had been a wretched piece of bungling; in failing of its end it became the project of a simpleton. Had the girl herself been cool enough to see this? Did she defy him in knowledge of the weakness of his position? Probably not; in that case she would have spoken differently ...
— A Life's Morning • George Gissing

... fellow," he had said as the door had closed behind him. But the very truth of the words had left a wound,—a clean-cut wound however. There was never any bungling where Doctor Hilary ...
— Antony Gray,—Gardener • Leslie Moore

... guests, And took them unprepared to give us welcome. Their scouts we killed, then found their body sleeping; And as they lay confused, we stumbled o'er them, And took what joint came next, arms, heads, or legs, Somewhat indecently. But when men want light, They make but bungling work. ...
— The Works of John Dryden, Vol. 6 (of 18) - Limberham; Oedipus; Troilus and Cressida; The Spanish Friar • John Dryden

... either. You must excuse me, Miss Knowles. There was something about your voice and face—rather threw me off my balance. If you'll kindly overlook the bungling start-off! I'm greatly pleased to meet you. My wife will be, too. May I ask you to step aboard the car?—No, here she ...
— Out of the Depths - A Romance of Reclamation • Robert Ames Bennet

... Hellenic or Asia Minor excavations! no more cosmopolitan Wissenschaft! On that fatal August 4 a whole world went down submerged beneath the waves of war, and the Squire cared for no other. His personal chagrin showed itself in abuse of the bungling diplomats and 'swashbuckler' politicians who, according to him, had brought us into war. So that when Aubrey applied for a commission, the Squire, mainly to relieve his own general irritation, had quarrelled with him for some months, ...
— Elizabeth's Campaign • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... think about them. Excitement makes me content to be, and careless about doing. My truest and best life is in myself, and I can only live it in circumstances of tranquil monotony. People talk so much about making the most of life, but their attempts are curiously bungling. What they call living is for the most part more pain than pleasure to them; for the truth is, that life should not be lived by men of mind, but contemplated; it is the spectator, not the actor, ...
— The Beth Book - Being a Study of the Life of Elizabeth Caldwell Maclure, a Woman of Genius • Sarah Grand

... and weight of a man. He dropped headlong—dropped and missed again! As he rushed past he saw the face of Ostrog's aeronaut confident and cool and in Ostrog's attitude a wincing resolution. Ostrog was looking steadfastly away from him—to the south. He realized with a gleam of wrath how bungling his flight must be. Below he saw the Croyden hills. He jerked upward and once more he gained ...
— When the Sleeper Wakes • Herbert George Wells

... all their race. When they are once gone, my jaws will clap together like two doors, the upper lip will grow just thrice as long, and again one can't tell what sort of a face will come of it. Time, my dear young friend, is, as somebody found out many many years ago, a bungling workman; he makes a creature pretty enough; then he daubs and trims and pares and pulls and squeezes the thing about, draws the nose and chin out of their sheaths, knocks in the cheeks, eats ruts into the forehead, till he has turned it into a scarecrow; ...
— The Old Man of the Mountain, The Lovecharm and Pietro of Abano - Tales from the German of Tieck • Ludwig Tieck

... but nevertheless a sure passage to freedom. It had seemed, in the past, a cowardly thing to avail himself of his knowledge—it was like going with his debts unpaid. But now, in the bright, moonlit room it no longer appeared so. He had finished his task, had ended the bungling, and had heard a clear call ringing with commendation and approval. There was ...
— The Man Thou Gavest • Harriet T. Comstock

... and humiliating scenes with the landlady. The visits to the play ceased, the maid was discharged, the hairdresser was no more brought into requisition. Their fall to destitution was worthy of the harebrained design, the bungling conduct, of Ned; the childish inexperience, the blind confidence, of Madge. 'Twas a fall as progressive as a series of prints by Hogarth. The brother was perpetually in liquor; he no longer took Madge out with him. Often he stayed away nights ...
— Philip Winwood • Robert Neilson Stephens

... She made rather bungling work in counting her fingers, going over them three or four times, and getting terribly ...
— A Noble Woman • Ann S. Stephens

... she had a foot or two of water in her, which he sought to excuse, but every word he said on the subject was untrue. The pump was stopped up, and we had to help him clear it out, which was accomplished after much trouble and bungling. We cleared it out, but we had that to do three times, because in repairing the boat they had left all the chips and pieces of wood lying in the hold between the planks, and when we pumped, this stuff would continually obstruct the pump, though we succeeded in ...
— Journal of Jasper Danckaerts, 1679-1680 • Jasper Danckaerts

... The universal, all-embracing Trust made marionettes of us, every one. Our strength was, to them, no more than that of a mouse to a lion. Their system is perfect, their lines of supply and communication are without a flaw. The Prussian army machine of other days was but a bungling experiment by comparison with the efficiency of this new mechanism. I tell you, Gabriel, we've got to give these tyrants credit for being infernally efficient tyrants! All that science has been able to devise, or press and church and university ...
— The Air Trust • George Allan England

... again, it can hardly be said that the truth had come back upon him as a new blow. Through such dreams there seems to exist a double memory, and a second identity. The misery of his isolated position never for a moment left him; and yet there were repeated to him over and over again those bungling, ill-arranged, impossible pictures of trivial transactions about the place, which the slumber of a few seconds sufficed to create in his brain. "Mr. Ralph, you must go to bed;—you must indeed, sir," said the old butler, standing over him with a candle during ...
— Ralph the Heir • Anthony Trollope

... nothing. But I knew that he was making a mighty effort to restrain comment on the bungling amateur detective work of the ...
— The War Terror • Arthur B. Reeve

... 'If you love Christ Jesus because you know that He died for you,' then there will be something else than the copybook. That copy and pattern will be laid to your heart and transferred there. You will not have to go on trying to make a bungling imitation; you will get it photographed on your spirit, and on your character more distinctly and more clearly down to the very minutest shade of resemblance to the Master, and with simple loving trust you will go on from strength ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - Ephesians; Epistles of St. Peter and St. John • Alexander Maclaren

... to the Baron, and attempted some innocent and bungling measures. "He still breathes," he kept saying. "All is not yet over; he ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 7 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... happiness had led her to this collapse. This man was Nigel. He thought he had saved her from her worst self. But really he had stirred this worst self from sleep. In London she had been almost a good woman, compared to the woman she was now. His bungling search after nobility of spirit had roused the devil within her. She longed to let him know what she really was. Often and often, while they two had been isolated together on the Loulia, she had been on the edge of telling ...
— Bella Donna - A Novel • Robert Hichens

... and hurled it; the poor beast bleated once, and rolling down the rock thudded at my feet, where I despatched it with my knife. My next care was to skin it, which unlovely task I made worse by my bungling, howbeit it was done at last and I reeking of blood and sweat. None the less I persevered and, having cleaned the carcass I cut therefrom such joints as might satisfy our immediate needs, and setting them in my ...
— Black Bartlemy's Treasure • Jeffrey Farnol

... had been given her. She was letting it slip away. She had her reward in her hand for the mere pulling of a trigger and no incrimination for the result. For a bit of human sentiment she was bungling ...
— O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1920 • Various

... mad when I think of it,' said Joshua, the elder. 'And here we work and work in our own bungling way, and the utmost we can hope for is a term of years as national schoolmasters, and possible admission to a Theological college, and ordination ...
— Life's Little Ironies - A set of tales with some colloquial sketches entitled A Few Crusted Characters • Thomas Hardy

... me see his insolent rubbish. Where are your eyes? You bungling louts ought to protect me against the foul brood that peoples this city, and their venomous jests. Past grievances are forgotten. Set the painter's father and brother at liberty. They have had a warning. Now I ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... related. General McClernand was appointed to this command by President Lincoln in person, who had no knowledge of what was then going on down the river. Still, my relief, on the heels of a failure, raised the usual cry, at the North, of "repulse, failure, and bungling." There was no bungling on my part, for I never worked harder or with more intensity of purpose in my life; and General Grant, long after, in his report of the operations of the siege of Vicksburg, gave us all ...
— Memoirs of Three Civil War Generals, Complete • U. S. Grant, W. T. Sherman, P. H. Sheridan

... advancement of the youth of the country, it seems eminently fitting to first make the way clear to a plain, practical handwriting. Neatness and accuracy should characterize the hand-writing of every one. Botch-work and bungling are inexcusable, as well in writing as in the transaction of business. No person has a right to cause a tinge of shame to their correspondent, by sending a letter addressed in a stupid and awkward manner, nor to consume the ...
— Burroughs' Encyclopaedia of Astounding Facts and Useful Information, 1889 • Barkham Burroughs

... Finished the Andria and to-day began the Adelphi. I am amused at comparing the comedy of that day with the modern French school. Davus in Andria is but a rough sketch of Moliere's valet, and the whole plot is so bungling in comparison. Have had very few attacks of melancholy lately; because, I suppose, my health is good and ...
— The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss • George L. Prentiss

... trying to do what he had been told, though in rather a bungling fashion. Inch by inch he allowed the bush to slip through his hands, looking down as well as he was able at the same time, in order to ascertain just how near he might be to that same ledge Hugh ...
— The Chums of Scranton High on the Cinder Path • Donald Ferguson

... dying beds over and over again; chairs with carved backs; and all manner of old world curiosities; family pictures, and samplers, and embroidery; fragments of tapestry; an inlaid floor; everything having a story to it, though, to say the truth, the possessor of these curiosities made but a bungling piece of work in telling the legends connected with them. In one or ...
— Sketches and Studies • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... this last work, viz. rigging and fitting my mast and sails; for I finished them very complete, making a small stay, and a sail or foresail to it, to assist, if we should turn to windward; and, which was more than all, I fixed a rudder to the stern of her, to steer with; and though I was but a bungling shipwright, yet as I knew the usefulness, and even necessity of such a thing, I applied myself with so much pains to do it, that at last I brought it to pass, though, considering the many dull contrivances I had for it that failed, I think it cost ...
— The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1808) • Daniel Defoe

... quietly behind Cameron and swiftly threw a line over his shoulders and, drawing it tight, bound his arms to his side. Again and again he repeated this operation till Cameron stood swathed in the coils of the rope like a mummy, inwardly raging, not so much at his captor, but at himself and his stupid bungling of his break for liberty. His helpless and absurd appearance seemed to restore ...
— Corporal Cameron • Ralph Connor

... and last, but not least, steam-radiators, than which it has never entered into the heart of man to conceive anything more surprising and unaccountable,—flat, pin-cushiony things, big as a bedquilt, dangerous-looking hedgehoggy affairs, some huge and bungling, others frail and leaky, but radiators still. In brief, the heating apparatus, whatever it may be, stands in ...
— Homes And How To Make Them • Eugene Gardner

... dangerous classes," which society creates, and then shrinks in horror, like Frankenstein, from the monster her own clumsy ambition has created. Thou Frankenstein Mammon! hast thou not had warnings enough, either to make thy machines like men, or stop thy bungling, and let God make ...
— Alton Locke, Tailor And Poet • Rev. Charles Kingsley et al

... that bodies created to sweep the streets and admirably adapted to that duty may be conspicuously not adapted to supply electric power or interfere with transit, is accountable for much disheartening bungling. Instead of taking a clear line from the outset, and denouncing these glorified vestries as useless, impossible and entirely unscientific organs, too many Socialists tried to claim Bumble as their friend and use him as their tool. And Bumble turned ...
— New Worlds For Old - A Plain Account of Modern Socialism • Herbert George Wells

... or snuffling: the speech is as clear as a bell and as keen as an arrow: and its elisions and contractions are either melodious, ("na," for "not,"—"pu'd," for "pulled,") or as normal as in a Latin verse. The long words are delivered without the slightest bungling; and "bigging" finished ...
— On the Old Road, Vol. 2 (of 2) - A Collection of Miscellaneous Essays and Articles on Art and Literature • John Ruskin

... farmers, and poultrymen. Heavy men with coarse voices, red necks, and great whips in their hands, wearing blue blouses and otter-skin caps, bargaining over their cups, stamping their feet, striking their fists, familiar with the servant, and bungling ...
— Ten Tales • Francois Coppee

... did her part without bungling, and in spite of the look of reproach that Willie gave her. His time was come. He held in as long as the human engine can, then exploded. The force of the explosion blew the nickel out of his mouth, and, lo, all Margery had to do was pick ...
— A Little Question in Ladies' Rights • Parker Fillmore

... lack of which has made failures of the lives of many men—the value of knowledge of one's own capacities. 'Frisco Kid knew what he was able to do, and because of this he had confidence in himself. He was cool and self-possessed, working hurriedly but not carelessly. There was no bungling. Every reef-point was drawn down to stay. Other accidents might occur, but the next squall, or the next forty squalls, would not carry one of those ...
— The Cruise of the Dazzler • Jack London

... leader. No one would have mentioned him, if he hadn't constantly committed fresh blunders. A few, who were quite sensible, sometimes said perhaps it was lucky for Fumle-Drumle that he was such a bungling idiot, otherwise Wind-Rush and Wind-Air would hardly have allowed him—who was of the old chieftain stock—to remain with ...
— The Wonderful Adventures of Nils • Selma Lagerlof

... cover. Why not strip off the letter entirely, that it might seem to have been opened, read, and then flung back upon the writer's hands with contumely? Half-way measures were unsafe and foolish. Stratagem, to be efficient, should be not only deft, but thorough; else it was bungling, not diplomacy. His hand did not shake in divesting the closely-written sheet of its wrapping, but in one respect his behavior was in consonance with the gentlemanly instincts he vaunted as a proof of pure ...
— At Last • Marion Harland

... man, who was by this time sitting up and gently chafing his wrists and ankles, and attempted to put to him the question which Dick had suggested. But he found that the words would not come to him; he felt that he knew but could not remember them; and after two or three bungling attempts he was obliged to ...
— Two Gallant Sons of Devon - A Tale of the Days of Queen Bess • Harry Collingwood

... susceptible to flattery there is danger of bungling, of making the effort so conscious that it is offensive. "Your natural beauty will be enhanced by one of our suits for our cutter understands how to set off a woman's form and features so she is admired wherever she goes." ...
— Business Correspondence • Anonymous

... clauses the Constitution of 1844 was still less satisfactory to the opponents of ratification. They seemed to see everywhere running through the whole instrument erroneous principles, inexpedient provisions, and confused, inconsistent, and bungling language. They declared that the legislative, executive, and judicial departments of the government were not sufficiently separate and distinct. The principle of the separation of powers was clearly violated (1) by giving to the Executive the power of veto, and (2) by ...
— History of the Constitutions of Iowa • Benjamin F. Shambaugh

... be nothing more than a gambling excitement as to the final outcome of your aerial squabble: but to the poor men who had to bear the wrongs, Inquisitions, rack-rents, Waterloos, unspeakable horrors, it was hard earnest, you know! Oh the wretchedness—the deep, deep pain—of that bungling ant-hill, happily wiped out, my God! My sweetheart Clodagh ... she was not an ideal being! There was a man called Judas who betrayed the gentle Founder of the Christian Faith, and there was some Roman king named Galba, a horrid ...
— The Purple Cloud • M.P. Shiel

... seemingly require no skill, a bungler makes himself and every one watching him uneasy if not actually fearful of his awkwardness. And as inexpertness is quite as irritating in personal as in mechanical bungling, so there is scarcely any one who sooner or later does not feel the need of social expertness. Something, some day, will awaken him to the folly of scorning as "soft," men who have accomplished manners; despising as "effeminate," youths who have physical grace; of being ...
— Etiquette • Emily Post

... his rod, but there was never a fish at the end of it, only the hook and the bait. If he had known how to fish properly, he would have been able to catch plenty of fish, but although he was the greatest hunter in the land he could not help being the most bungling fisher. ...
— Japanese Fairy Tales • Yei Theodora Ozaki

... ordinary amount of bungling could have done it, Tom's voyage would have terminated within a hundred yards of the Cherwell. While he had been sitting quiet and merely paddling, and almost letting the stream carry him down, the boat had trimmed well enough; but now, taking a long breath, he leaned ...
— Tom Brown at Oxford • Thomas Hughes

... asserted confidently. "We are at least beyond reach of these bungling English spies. There is no further fear of eavesdroppers. We are entirely alone. Each may speak his own mind. There is nothing to be feared in the way of interruption. I trust, Monsieur Douaille, that you ...
— Mr. Grex of Monte Carlo • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... entrancingly enough to bring about the meeting between her lover's back and her father's knife. That she does not warble herself into the position of "particeps criminis" in a murder she owes only to the bungling of the old man. Having done this, however, she turns physician and nurse and brings the wounded man back to health, thus sacrificing her love to the duty which her lover thinks he owes to the invaders of her country and oppressors of her people. After this ...
— A Second Book of Operas • Henry Edward Krehbiel

... Salvator, "Ho! ho! Antonio, weigh well what you are about to do. You are a clever chirurgeon, and perhaps will never be anything more than a bungling painter all your life long; for, with your permission, as young as you are, you are decidedly too old to begin to use the charcoal now. Believe me, a man's whole lifetime is scarce long enough to acquire ...
— Weird Tales. Vol. I • E. T. A. Hoffmann

... tell-tale handkerchief, and puts on such a sweet smile as utterly precludes the idea of chagrin. The men, with the usual amount of bungling, fall into their places, and Cecil seizes the opportunity to say to Marcia, in ...
— Molly Bawn • Margaret Wolfe Hamilton

... only the copy. You burned only the copy. Mr. Vanringham, it develops, knew well enough what that bungling Degge had been deputed to do, and he preferred to treat directly with Lord Humphrey's principal. Mr. Vanringham is an intelligent fellow. I dare make this assertion, because I am fresh from an interview with Mr. ...
— Gallantry - Dizain des Fetes Galantes • James Branch Cabell

... my masts and sails; for I finished them very complete, making a small stay, and a sail, or foresail, to it, to assist if we should turn to windward; and, what was more than all, I fixed a rudder to the stern of her to steer with. I was but a bungling shipwright, yet as I knew the usefulness and even necessity of such a thing, I applied myself with so much pains to do it, that at last I brought it to pass; though, considering the many dull contrivances I had for ...
— Robinson Crusoe • Daniel Defoe

... to think, one day, how much better camps might be made from bark peeled, cut, and pressed into the required lengths and shapes, beforehand, as we prepare it for our Indian canoes, than by following our usual bungling method, I concluded to put things in train for trying the experiment this fall; and this fall especially, as I was then calculating, unless you wished to join, to hunt only in company with the two Elwoods, and I was desirous of getting up ...
— Gaut Gurley • D. P. Thompson

... Literary newspapers, too, are a singularly cunning device for robbing the reading public of the time which, if culture is to be attained, should be devoted to the genuine productions of literature, instead of being occupied by the daily bungling ...
— The Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer; Religion, A Dialogue, Etc. • Arthur Schopenhauer

... had been frightened. But now everything was calm and peaceful. The glass hung in fragments about the leaden sashes; the chair and priere-dieu of the lady abbess had altogether an innocent and comfortable air, and the images, of which there were several, as horrible as a bungling workman and a bloody imagination could produce, though of a suffering appearance, were really insensible to pain. While we were making this reconnoissance a bugle sounded on the main, and looking ...
— A Residence in France - With An Excursion Up The Rhine, And A Second Visit To Switzerland • J. Fenimore Cooper

... it is his darling weapon he seems always afraid of it, and is never sure of his aim till he is quite close to his object. I have mentioned this fact to several Europeans who had accompanied various tribes to battle, and they all informed me they made a sad bungling use of the musket; their aim would be surer if they had large and ferocious animals to hunt or contend with. There is another circumstance that operates against their acquiring skill in the use of the gun: they ...
— A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827 • Augustus Earle

... babies, when hungry, have always yelled. And, of old, as to-day, when a baby yelled, the woman who had borne it was likely to appear at once upon the scene. Ab's mother came running lightly from the river bank toward where the youngster lay. She was worthy of attention as she ran, and this is but a bungling attempt at a description of her ...
— The Story of Ab - A Tale of the Time of the Cave Man • Stanley Waterloo

... any characteristic series of pictures or incidents from Madame Bovary: take Bovary's bungling and gruesome operations on the club-footed ostler's leg, with the entire village clustering agape; take the picture of the eyeless, idiotic beggar on the road to Rouen; or the scene in which Emma offers herself for three thousand francs to Rodolphe; or the following ...
— The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters • George Sand, Gustave Flaubert

... general to whom it was addressed. If it were meant for a system of espionage upon the general by thus inseparably tying to him a civilian over whom he had no control, like an agent of a secret police reporting to a Fouche or a Savary, it would be an intelligible though bungling contrivance; but as a means of secret communication with a general it was ridiculous in the extreme. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxxii. pt. ii. pp. 150, 159, 161, ...
— Military Reminiscences of the Civil War V2 • Jacob Dolson Cox

... occurred at the trial and his knowledge of Maslova, Nekhludoff was convinced that she was innocent, and at first was confident that the other jurors would so find her, but when he saw that because of the merchant's bungling defense of Maslova, evidently prompted by his undisguised liking for her, and the foreman's resistance which it caused, but chiefly because of the weariness of the jury, there was likely to be a verdict of guilty, he ...
— The Awakening - The Resurrection • Leo Nikoleyevich Tolstoy

... one who charges high is not learned. Look at Dr. Guevara; after performing a bungling operation that cost the life of both mother and child, he charged the widower fifty pesos. The thing to know is ...
— The Social Cancer - A Complete English Version of Noli Me Tangere • Jose Rizal

... to "expose" things when people go to the Egyptian Hall on purpose to be mystified. I remember how the fact of having seen Dr. Sexton do the trick of reading the names in the hat spoilt my enjoyment of Dr. Lynn's experiment. He really appeared quite bungling when I knew all he was about. He did not, on this occasion, produce the letters on his arm; but I saw he could quite easily have done so, though the doing it would have been no sort of reproduction of Mr. ...
— Mystic London: - or, Phases of occult life in the metropolis • Charles Maurice Davies

... lips was the painful smile of a dancer hissed off the boards. With the excuse that the footlights dazzled her, she was turning every moment towards the audience to look for her son. Perhaps there would be a duel with the Prince, if he was there. And all her fault—all through her stupid bungling. ...
— The Immortal - Or, One Of The "Forty." (L'immortel) - 1877 • Alphonse Daudet

... considered not that the contrary inference was much juster. If Somerset was so great a novice in this detestable art, that, during the course of five months, a man who was his prisoner and attended by none but his emissaries, could not be despatched but in so bungling a manner, how could it be imagined, that a young prince, living in his own court, surrounded by his own friends and domestics, could be exposed to Somerset's attempts, and be taken off by so subtile a ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part D. - From Elizabeth to James I. • David Hume

... worse than problematically a change to the better. At least one could scarcely help desiring rather to accept peaceably the warrant of a natural death, than to risk the enhancement of a conflict on the doubtful aid of a bungling doctor, whose chief recommendation, perhaps, if he would but allow himself to be favoured by it, consisted in his avowed ignorance securing his neutrality. In such a case, indeed, and it seems on the whole to be almost the very one which ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17 • Robert Kerr

... their sudden haste, caused by the occurrence of an unlooked-for incident. "The floors of a house where a crime has just been committed," said a famous detective, "burn the feet." M. Lecoq seemed exasperated, like a true artist, before the gross, pretentious, and ridiculous work of some green and bungling scholar. ...
— The Mystery of Orcival • Emile Gaboriau

... these Romans are! They have no real taste for art, for beauty. They cannot even conduct a murder, save in a bungling way. They have to call in us Hellenes to help them. Ha! ha! this is the vengeance for Hellas, for the sack and razing of Corinth and all the other atrocities! Rome can conquer with the sword; but we Greeks, though conquered, can, unarmed, conquer Rome. How these Italians can ...
— A Friend of Caesar - A Tale of the Fall of the Roman Republic. Time, 50-47 B.C. • William Stearns Davis

... This bungling, barefaced attempt to destroy the steamer touched Mayo's pride as deeply as it stirred his wrath. Fogg evidently viewed the pretensions of the new ownership with contempt. He must have belief in his own power to ruin and to escape consequences, pondered the ...
— Blow The Man Down - A Romance Of The Coast - 1916 • Holman Day

... waiting upon offspring just out of the nest. I watched one as he offered his charge a rather large insect. The awkward fledgeling let it fall three times; and still the parent picked it up again, only chirping mildly, as if to say, "Come, come, my beauty, don't be quite so bungling." But even in the midst of their family cares, they still found leisure for music; and as they and the black-throated greens were often singing together, I had excellent opportunities to compare the songs of the two species. The voices, while both very peculiar, are at the same ...
— Birds in the Bush • Bradford Torrey

... dream of a fine mass worthy of the Cathedral, the Canon Obrero attacks me and begs for something Italian and simple, an affair of half-a-dozen musicians that I must pick up in the town, and then I have to conduct a few bungling musicians, raging to hear how the miserable orchestra sounds under these vaults, which were built for something grander. In the end, friend Luna, it ...
— The Shadow of the Cathedral • Vicente Blasco Ibanez

... found him looking amused, terrified and helpless, all at once, while three men reporters and one woman special writer bombarded him with questions. The woman had brought a staff artist with her, and he was now engaged in making a bungling sketch of Theodore's face, with its ...
— Fanny Herself • Edna Ferber

... known anyone by the name of Weltz. This was just what I had expected. The man for whom we are searching is shrewd almost beyond belief, and if we succeed in finding him it will not, we may be assured, be the result of any bungling on his part. ...
— The Darrow Enigma • Melvin L. Severy

... Cesar is a mutilated tragedy: it ends with the speech of Antony over the dead body of Caesar, borrowed from Shakspeare; that is to say, it has no conclusion. And what a patched and bungling thing is it in all its parts! How coarse-spun and hurried is the conspiracy! How stupid Caesar must have been, to allow the conspirators to brave him before his face without suspecting their design! That Brutus, although he knew Caesar to be his father, nay, immediately after this fact ...
— Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature • August Wilhelm Schlegel

... had been any bungling on your part, Gibbons, there might be something in what you say, but no one could have foreseen that before we had been on shore two minutes we should have been attacked in that way. You both did all that men could do, as was shown by the condition of the fellows ...
— Colonel Thorndyke's Secret • G. A. Henty

... after McClellan had so tragically failed in the Seven Days, when Lincoln was at the front, Pope was busy with the Committee, assuring them virtually that the war had been won in the West, and that only McClellan's bungling had saved the Confederacy from speedy death.(7) But somehow Lincoln trusted him, and continued to trust him even after he had proved his incompetency in ...
— Lincoln • Nathaniel Wright Stephenson

... walk through an exhibition of horrors, mechanically set in motion to prove their prowess. Dr. Drake seems happier when the hideous beings are put to rout, and the transformation-scene, which places fairyland before us, suddenly descends on the stage. Yet the bungling attempts of Dr. Drake are interesting as showing that grave and critical minds were prepared to consider the tale of terror as a legitimate form of literature, obeying certain definite rules of its own and aiming at the excitement of a pleasurable fear. The seed of Gothic story, sown ...
— The Tale of Terror • Edith Birkhead

... against the wall, a queue of waiting women. They would be there until the early morning, many of them, and it was possible that then the bread would not be sufficient. And this not from any real lack, but simply from the mistakes of a bungling, peculating Government. No wonder that ...
— The Secret City • Hugh Walpole

... a healthy-minded young person; she was not given to introspection. She never took herself to pieces, in a morbid way, to examine the inner workings of her own mind, after the manner of some folk, who regulate themselves in a bungling fashion, and wind themselves up afresh daily; and who would even time their own heart-beats ...
— Lover or Friend • Rosa Nouchette Carey

... adjusted properly, so they saw every thing with a blur. Definite outlines, cleanly cut edges, exact apprehension of volume and weight, nice measurement of relations, were matters outside of their observation and experience. They had broad minds, but bungling; and their language was no better than their apprehensions—usually it was worse, because language is rarely as definite as apprehension. Men rarely do their work to suit them, because their tools ...
— Lessons in Life - A Series of Familiar Essays • Timothy Titcomb

... a very pretty musical little laugh at Smellie's elaborate assumption of mock gallantry and his bungling efforts ...
— The Congo Rovers - A Story of the Slave Squadron • Harry Collingwood

... You need not have put yourself in a fatigue, and spoilt your drawing. Lord Hartledon shall be your husband before six months are over—or reproach me ever afterwards with being a false prophetess and a bungling manager." ...
— Elster's Folly • Mrs. Henry Wood

... very outset, a degree of tacit intimacy between them which would not otherwise have occurred in a fortnight, perhaps never. But he had done it with an assurance almost, if not quite, hypnotic, and he had removed his hand—a move, she recognized, which offered more opportunities for bungling than the initial venture—with the exact degree of insouciance, of abstraction, but at the same time not without a slight lighting of the eyes expressive alike of humility and gratitude. Lurking in her mind was an irritation over the position in which ...
— Prince or Chauffeur? - A Story of Newport • Lawrence Perry

... controlled our foreign policy at the time, waited till the last moment, blustered, found himself impotent to move without French support, and left Denmark smarting with a sense of betrayal which lasted till 1914. By such bungling Morier knew that we were incurring enmity on both sides and lowering our reputation for courage as ...
— Victorian Worthies - Sixteen Biographies • George Henry Blore

... of mind when the captain proposed that we should land upon the island. I saw he had something to say, and only feared it might be consolation, for I could just bear my grief, not bungling sympathy; and yet I had no choice but ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 13 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... cougar alive but twice, and both times by chance. On one occasion one of my men, Merrifield, and I surprised one eating a skunk in a bull-berry patch; and by our own bungling frightened it away from its unsavory ...
— Hunting the Grisly and Other Sketches • Theodore Roosevelt

... performance, than many a listener at a splendid concert. Mozart, for whom he had a special cultus, would surely have felt satisfied, if his clairvoyant spirit had been abroad, with my friend's marvellous bungling over that first finale of "Don Giovanni." The soul, the whole innermost nervous body (which felt of the shape of the music, fluid and infinitely sensitive) of the poor creature at the piano would draw itself up, parade grandly through that minuet, dance it in glory with the most glorious ghosts ...
— Hortus Vitae - Essays on the Gardening of Life • Violet Paget, AKA Vernon Lee

... growing uneasy in his mind; his side of the conversation grew awkward and disjointed, and he made the blunder of drifting into an embarrassing silence before coming to the point. He took one elbow from the rail, and said, with a bungling attempt at carelessness which was made more transparent by the awkward pause ...
— Over the Sliprails • Henry Lawson

... possibly need advice! Not he, of course—not he. Mr. Seward is the Alpha and Omega—knows everything, and can do every thing himself. Happily, the people at large is the genuine statesman, and can correct the mistakes—and worse—of its blundering, bungling servants. ...
— Diary from November 12, 1862, to October 18, 1863 • Adam Gurowski

... altogether until the time when this indispensable condition should be fulfilled. But it was precisely my rage over the tinker that, in a moment of agitation, gave me the theme for Siegfried's furious outburst against the bungling Mime. I played over the childishly quarrelsome Polter theme in G minor to my sister, furiously singing the words at the same time, which made us all laugh so much that I decided to make one more effort. This resulted in my writing down a good part ...
— My Life, Volume II • Richard Wagner

... make so much over what you ought to have by rights. I actually cried the other night. I was driving the cow 'long here and saw you through the window in the kitchen cooking your supper. A woman's heart is tender toward children and to a man that she—to a man that is plumb helpless and bungling about over things he has no business to fool with. Alfred, your frying-pan had a sediment of eggs, meat, grease, and pure dirt on the bottom as hard as the iron itself. I had to chop it out with a hatchet. Your coffee-kettle was full to the ...
— Dixie Hart • Will N. Harben

... as He looks o'er the building, He will bring my work to the light, And, seeing the marring and bungling, And how far it ...
— Separation and Service - or Thoughts on Numbers VI, VII. • James Hudson Taylor

... think, is to be found in the ease with which our currency is inflated, under a banking system which varies from State to State, and which, outside of New England and New York, where it is by no means perfect, is as bungling a contrivance, for the ends to be answered, as was ever inflicted on the patience of mankind. Much of the trouble is due also to the extravagance and reckless waste of our people, which, though owing in ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. I, No. 1, Nov. 1857 • Various

... in the pit, suddenly failed in his powers. The natives were sure it was not their fault that the cover had not been securely fastened. The bearers repeated they were all at work and could find no fault with themselves. They were used to dealing with white men who did not permit bungling. Their wailing was very loud. . . . To lose such a tiger was worth more than many natives, some white men would say. . . . But Cadman Sahib was rich. He fumed but little; being of all white men most miraculously compassionate. . . . ...
— Son of Power • Will Levington Comfort and Zamin Ki Dost

... tangled, but ordinarily she would have been able to braid them into some semblance of neatness, but the trying experience of the past moments, the joy of gaining an adopted mother, set her fingers bungling. ...
— Patchwork - A Story of 'The Plain People' • Anna Balmer Myers

... paper to see if that lost child at the asylum had been found. Edgar jumped on the car, and seemed determined that I should not read the paper until I reached home. He was very kind, but slightly bungling in his attentions. I knew then that something was wrong, but just what was beyond my imagination, unless Jack Howard had been expelled from Harvard, or Bell Winship had been lost at sea on the way home; so I persisted in reading, and at last I found the fatal item. I don't know ...
— Polly Oliver's Problem • Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin

... other to the Queen. The adventuress was too obvious a scapegoat to be spared. While Rohan was allowed to leave the Bastille after a short imprisonment, the woman was brought to trial, and was sentenced to public whipping and branding. Her execution was carried out in bungling fashion, and at the foot of the steps leading to the law courts, whence Danton's voice was to reverberate so loudly in his struggle with so-called Justice ten years later, a disgraceful scene occurred. The crowd saw La Motte struggling in the hands of the executioners and rolling ...
— The French Revolution - A Short History • R. M. Johnston

... however, shows this fascination for the super-empirical at its height and culmination. It was an attempt, though a bungling attempt, to pass from an abstract God to a God of character, and it was a circuitous way of getting ...
— Spiritual Reformers in the 16th & 17th Centuries • Rufus M. Jones

... she owed no such deference to Mrs. Bodine as she did to her father, and, with an ominous flash in her eyes, said decidedly, "You are bungling, Cousin Sophy. George Houghton is incapable of what you term a Yankee trick. I will be pliant under all motives of love and duty to my father, but you must not outrage my sense of justice. You must remember that I have a conscience, as truly as ...
— The Earth Trembled • E.P. Roe

... taxes; the interior customs lines, preventing the easy passage of goods from one part of France to another; the extravagance of the king's household; the pensions granted to undeserving persons; every evil of the bungling, iniquitous old rgime was brought under the scrutiny of the new thinkers, who tested the existing system by the light of reason and the welfare of the great ...
— An Introduction to the History of Western Europe • James Harvey Robinson

... fortunate, were executed with the usual atrocity; and Lord Cobham and two others were pardoned on the scaffold. His Sowship thought it wonderfully knowing in him to surprise the people by pardoning these three at the very block; but, blundering, and bungling, as usual, he had very nearly overreached himself. For, the messenger on horseback who brought the pardon, came so late, that he was pushed to the outside of the crowd, and was obliged to shout and roar out what he came for. The miserable ...
— A Child's History of England • Charles Dickens

... fool. Do you think I'm a bungling theorist like yourself? Who do you think is operating that short-wave station? I am. Who do you think put the world to sleep? I did. Who do you think ...
— The End of Time • Wallace West

... of parties, be they in-door or out-door, morning or evening, city or country, is to endeavor to find out the wishes of the majority of the guests and act upon that knowledge. To force a large party of people to listen to awkward, bungling charades, because two or three amateur actors desire to "show off," proves a want of tact in the hostess; to allow a few young people to guide the entertainments in a large assembly of older and graver ...
— Frost's Laws and By-Laws of American Society • Sarah Annie Frost

... Marechal d'Uxelles, and others. The late Duke of Marlborough, who was at least as able a negotiator as a general, was exceedingly ignorant of books, but extremely knowing in men, whereas the learned Grotius appeared, both in Sweden and in France, to be a very bungling minister. This is, in my opinion, very easily to be accounted for. A man of very deep learning must have employed the greatest part of his time in books; and a skillful negotiator must necessarily have employed much the greater part of ...
— The PG Edition of Chesterfield's Letters to His Son • The Earl of Chesterfield

... the corpse of John Hampden was disinterred by the late Lord Nugent for the purpose of settling the disputed point of history as to the manner in which the patriot received his death-wound. The examination seems to have been conducted after a somewhat bungling fashion for a scientific object, and the facts disclosed were these: 'On lifting up the right arm we found that it was dispossessed of its hand. We might therefore naturally conjecture that it had been amputated, as the bone ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 218, December 31, 1853 • Various

... a time, my dear," said I, "I flattered myself on being an artist in life. I am humbler now and acknowledge myself a wretched bungling amateur. But I still recognise ...
— Simon the Jester • William J. Locke



Words linked to "Bungling" :   maladroit, unskilled



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