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Muddle   /mˈədəl/   Listen
Muddle

noun
1.
A confused multitude of things.  Synonyms: clutter, fuddle, jumble, mare's nest, smother, welter.
2.
Informal terms for a difficult situation.  Synonyms: fix, hole, jam, kettle of fish, mess, pickle.  "He made a muddle of his marriage"






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Muddle" Quotes from Famous Books



... to bring-to first and at once. It is evident, however, that even the Sailing Instructions, cast-iron as they were, contemplated a fleet in order, not one in process of forming order; and that to bring-to helter-skelter, regardless of order, was to obey the letter rather than the spirit. Muddle-headed as Mathews seems to have been, what he was trying to do was clear enough; and the duty of a subordinate was to carry out his evident aim. An order does not necessarily supersede its predecessor, unless the two are incompatible. ...
— Types of Naval Officers - Drawn from the History of the British Navy • A. T. Mahan

... kiss frightened me, but—— Will I hate him when I see him with nice people? Can I introduce him to the Gilsons? Oh, I was mad; so wrought up by that idiotic chase with Dlorus, and so sure I was a romantic heroine and—— And I'm simply an indecisive girl in a realistic muddle!" ...
— Free Air • Sinclair Lewis

... the profits of which were to benefit the society, which drooped for want of funds. It was her first attempt at organization on a large scale, and she meant to achieve something remarkable. She meant to use the cumbrous machine to pick out this, that, and the other interesting person from the muddle of the world, and to set them for a week in a pattern which must catch the eyes of Cabinet Ministers, and the eyes once caught, the old arguments were to be delivered with unexampled originality. Such was the scheme as a whole; and in contemplation of it she would become ...
— Night and Day • Virginia Woolf

... mystical. Mr. Waverton comes here to do his poor possible to make mischief between us. I suppose you saw that. He tells us that he went blundering with my father into a muddle of ...
— The Highwayman • H.C. Bailey

... him and winked. "That's cool," said he. "Next thing, you'll ask me to help you out of the muddle. I know I'm emissary of Providence, but not that kind! You get out of it yourself, like AEsop and the other fellow. Must be dreadful muddle for young orphan o' forty; leather ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 7 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... isn't a hanky cry, unless you make it worse. Lydia, I wish you and Anne would go away and let father and me muddle along alone." ...
— The Prisoner • Alice Brown

... then! Thou fat sedentary appetite, what a great god thine must be, that he can choose no cleverer servant than thee to muddle his affairs! While you were lulling me to sleep with dreams about a clue to be found in a cellar, she has already sucked the secret out from some cobra's hole and has sold it to the commissioner! As soon as he has ...
— Guns of the Gods • Talbot Mundy

... made a nice mess of things!" she had exclaimed, half crying. And Johnny had inwardly agreed with her more sweepingly than Mary V suspected. A nice mess he had made of things, truly! Everything was a muddle, and like the fool he was, he went right on muddling things worse. Even Mary V could see it, he told himself bitterly, and forgot that Mary V had said other things,—tender, pitying things,—before they had led ...
— The Thunder Bird • B. M. Bower

... great, are but a small part of the mess. Doubtless many a marriage—and not in high life alone, either—has been put through, although the one party or the other or both have discovered that disaster was inevitable—solely because of the appalling muddle the sensible course would precipitate. In the case of the Norman-Burroughs fiasco, there were—to note only a few big items—such difficulties as several car loads of presents from all parts of the earth to be returned, a house furnished throughout ...
— The Grain Of Dust - A Novel • David Graham Phillips

... disorders it never occurred to me that the Government would be foolish enough to let the flour situation get worse. I was so used by this time to see the Duma keep a calm front in the face of imperial rebuffs that I thought Russia was going to continue to muddle on to the end of the war and, though I thought I was rather well-posted, I confess I was on the point of leaving Russia to return to the western front, where the spring campaign was about to begin with vigor. As late as ...
— World's War Events, Vol. II • Various

... Act had caught her in its toils, she was being overwhelmed with terrible forms and schedules, searching into her profits, making strange inquiries as to minerals, muddling her with long words. Then out of all the muddle and welter finally emerged the startling fact that the Government expected to have twenty per cent. of her profits on the ...
— Joanna Godden • Sheila Kaye-Smith

... has to rap out his own orders. Sleeping men have to be roused, equipment thrown on, arms taken up. The men have to "fall in" in their right sections; have to be numbered, have to form fours. If there is any muddle whatever, a Battalion cannot ...
— "Contemptible" • "Casualty"

... 61; irregularity; anomaly &c (unconformity) 83; anarchy, anarchism; want of method; untidiness &c adj.; disunion; discord &c 24. confusion; confusedness &c adj.; mishmash, mix; disarray, jumble, huddle, litter, lumber; cahotage^; farrago; mess, mash, muddle, muss [U.S.], hash, hodgepodge; hotch-potch^, hotch-pot^; imbroglio, chaos, omnium gatherum [Lat.], medley; mere mixture &c 41; fortuitous concourse of atoms, disjecta membra [Lat.], rudis indigestaque ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... understand it, he was never quite sober at that time; he had begun to use drugs, and was often in a half- stupefied condition. As a matter of fact, the woman did what she pleased with him. There's no doubt about the validity of the marriage. And what makes it so desperate a muddle is that since the marriage she's taken good care to give no grounds upon which a divorce could be obtained for Harman. She means ...
— The Guest of Quesnay • Booth Tarkington

... Supreme War Council was, in spite of President Wilson's opposition to the plan, to continue the expedition and strengthen it as fast as possible. To the American soldier at this distance it looks as though the French and British, perhaps in all good faith, planned to muddle along till the American authorities could be shown the fitness or the necessity of supporting the expedition with proper forces. But this was playing with a handful of Americans and other Allied troops a great game of hazard. ...
— The History of the American Expedition Fighting the Bolsheviki - Campaigning in North Russia 1918-1919 • Joel R. Moore

... left my shoes behind me, that's all"; and she ran indoors, jumping from mat to mat, and without even so much as bidding Tom goodbye, who rode home, not thinking much about his business, but lost in a muddle of most contradictory presentations, a constant glimmer of Catharine's ankles, wonderment at her accident—was it all true?—the strange look when she disclaimed the honour of his rescue and expounded her philosophy, and the fall between his shoulders. When he slept, his sleep was usually dreamless, ...
— Catharine Furze • Mark Rutherford

... perhaps the most important single issue now in controversy at the Peace Conference—a phase of the Asiatic muddle. In fact, it was an outline of the private agreement that has been reached as between our envoys and the envoys representing sundry friendly powers in regard to this particular question. If it should fall into the hands of a certain other power—and be ...
— From Place to Place • Irvin S. Cobb

... of the needless muddle was apparent. Evasions were of no use; therefore Dunois admitted that there was no way to correct the blunder but to send the army all the way back to Blois, and let it begin over again and come up on the other side this time, according ...
— Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc - Volume 1 (of 2) • Mark Twain

... intervened, listening and watching him uneasily, "you'd better go yourself and tell them. He'll muddle it." ...
— The Brothers Karamazov • Fyodor Dostoyevsky

... this good lady; "why, you all seem to be following the advice of my grandfather Twynintuft,—which was, to let the mind muddle after dinner. He thought it strengthened the voice,—gave it timber, as he called it. But, ah, dear! in these days so little attention is paid to elocution that it's of no ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 12, No. 72, October, 1863 • Various

... "It is a muddle tempered by the ink-bottle, like every incipient government. We shall not see our way through it for another ten years —we who have to do the governing; but private enterprise has sharp eyes.—So I am sending ...
— Poor Relations • Honore de Balzac

... has left it. He was heir to a discredited truth; he left behind him an accredited fallacy. Mr. Romanes, if he is not stopped in time, will get the theory connecting heredity and memory into just such another muddle as Mr. Darwin has got evolution, for surely the writer who can talk about "HEREDITY BEING ABLE TO WORK UP the faculty of homing into the instinct of migration," {61b} or of "the principle of (natural) selection combining with that of lapsing intelligence to the formation of a joint ...
— Luck or Cunning? • Samuel Butler

... you know" He paused. "It's all been a muddle, and I've no objection to your coming along ...
— The Longest Journey • E. M. Forster

... been dispelled from every stage and process of the social training of men. Things long hidden appeared discovered with an amazing clearness and nakedness. These men who had awakened, laughed dissolvent laughs, and the old muddle of schools and colleges, books and traditions, the old fumbling, half-figurative, half-formal teaching of the Churches, the complex of weakening and confusing suggestions and hints, amidst which the pride and honor of adolescence doubted and stumbled and fell, became nothing ...
— In the Days of the Comet • H. G. Wells

... intelligent soldier could do without any knavery or any corruption, 'John Bright might tell us,' but he couldn't. And here it may be well to observe that it was a favourite form of speech with him to refer to this illustrious public man in this familiar manner; but always to show what a condition of muddle and confusion must ensue if we followed the counsels that name emblematised; nor did he know a more cutting sarcasm to reply to an adversary than when he had said, 'Oh, John Bright would agree with you,' or, 'I don't think John Bright could ...
— Lord Kilgobbin • Charles Lever

... 233.).—I have heard the word "maddle" often used in the West Riding of Yorkshire, in exactly the same sense as the word mairdil, as mentioned by MR. STEPHENS. And in this part the work-people would use the word "muddle" in ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 232, April 8, 1854 • Various

... appeared at the head of the column, and was supplemented by a complete resume of the Blithers-Graustark muddle: ...
— The Prince of Graustark • George Barr McCutcheon

... besides, as it is supplied to you by the busy millers on the platform, closes the eustachian tubes and keeps the neophyte perpetually swallowing, till his throat is grown so dry that he can swallow no longer. And for all these reasons—although I had a fine, dizzy, muddle-headed joy in my surroundings, and longed, and tried, and always failed, to lay hands on the fish that darted here and there about me, swift as humming-birds—yet I fancy I was rather relieved than otherwise when Bain brought me back to the ladder and signed to me to mount. And there was ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 16 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... enormous amount of divorce there is. If it be true that there is a great deal of news of divorce in the Press, it is because the Press does not give news of an imaginary world that is a Utopia, but of the dear old muddle-headed world as it is. Does Chesterton fail to see that if the newspapers did not report the Divorce Courts, the numbers of cases would increase from thousands to millions. It is useless Chesterton sighing that lawyers have become ...
— Gilbert Keith Chesterton • Patrick Braybrooke

... really cared for them, but because gifted writers had for centuries been setting up hypnotic suggestions that in this way was pleasure to be obtained. He had often seen men and women standing before a canvas of REMBRANDT, hating the grubby muddle of it in their hearts, but adoring it in their heads—all because some well-known critic had told them to. Their pleasure, however, was real, and therefore it should, in a world of sadness, be encouraged, and consequently ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 152, June 6, 1917 • Various

... stores on board till the last moment. If I were an owner I should tell all shippers that no goods would be received within five or six hours of the ship's time for sailing; that would give us a fair chance, instead of starting all in a muddle, just at the time, too, when more than any other one wants to have the decks free for making short tacks down these narrow reaches. I believe half the wrecks on the sands at the mouth of the river are due to the confusion in which the ships start. ...
— The Treasure of the Incas • G. A. Henty

... Captain Jones," said I, "it wasn't anything that would have disturbed much either of us two," I said; and then, as if a light had been flashed into the muddle of his brain, poor old Jones found a last word of amazing profundity. He blew his nose, nodding at me dolefully: "Ay, ay! neither you nor I, sir, had ever thought so much ...
— Lord Jim • Joseph Conrad

... cleansing the Treasury has commenced, and brooms and scrubbing-brushes are at a premium—a little anticipative, it is true, of the approaching turn-out; but the dilatory idleness and muddle-headed confusion of those who will soon be termed its late occupiers, rendered this a work of absolute time and labour. That the change in office had long been expected, is evident from the number of hoards discovered, ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 1, August 21, 1841 • Various

... other people now came in, all calling for food, and I was really so weary from lack of sleep and proper rest that I could not remember what they were talking about two seconds after they had finished speaking. Most of the men were angry at the "muddle," as they called it, and said it was hopeless going on this way. One of the Austrian midshipmen told me that there had been altogether very little firing, and not more than a few dozen Chinese skirmishers engaged, but that the whole northern and eastern fronts ...
— Indiscreet Letters From Peking • B. L. Putman Weale

... "ignorance" from the burthen of thinking about African problems, I find myself obliged, like most other people, to do so. In the interests of our country, our children, and the world, we common persons have to have opinions about these matters. A muddle-up in Africa this year may kill your son and mine in the course of the next decade. I know this is not a claim to be interested in things African, such as the promoter of a tropical railway or an oil speculator ...
— In The Fourth Year - Anticipations of a World Peace (1918) • H.G. Wells

... Mr. Furnival's mind, keen and almost unerring at seizing legal points, went eagerly to work, considering what new evidence might now be forthcoming. He remembered at once the circumstances of those two chief witnesses, the clerk who had been so muddle-headed, and the servant-girl who had been so clear. They had certainly witnessed some deed, and they had done so on that special day. If there had been a fraud, if there had been a forgery, it had been so clever as almost to ...
— Orley Farm • Anthony Trollope

... fastidious little old English woman back with him as a housekeeper, a Mrs. Watson, and she looks both capable and practical. Notwithstanding the fact that she seems to have stepped right out of Dickens, and carries a huge Manx cat about with her, Percy said he thought they'd muddle along in some way. Thoughtful boy that he was, he brought me a portmanteau packed full of the newer novels and magazines, and a two-pound jar of ...
— The Prairie Wife • Arthur Stringer

... saw I could bring myself to meet with considerable philosophy. It meant a return to the quiet service of the Honourable George and that I need no longer face the distressing vicissitudes of life in the back blocks of unexplored America. I would not be obliged to muddle along in the blind fashion of the last two days, feeling a frightful fool. Mrs. Effie would surely not keep me on, and that was all about it. I had merely to make no defence of myself. And even if I chose to make one I was ...
— Ruggles of Red Gap • Harry Leon Wilson

... of the traction muddle was sufficient to afford a background of plausibility for this highminded renunciation. There was something likable in Charles Holton. His volubility, which had prejudiced her against him in the beginning, seemed now to speak for a frankness that appealed ...
— Otherwise Phyllis • Meredith Nicholson

... in my other hand," I said, "and then I can always look at it easily, and it will always be in a different place, which ought to muddle him." ...
— Happy Days • Alan Alexander Milne

... and we'd have missed this. It takes only about one season to muddle up their riding with the white man's booze—or the white man's treaty money. Why don't we leave well enough alone—that is, if they'd let ...
— The Return of Blue Pete • Luke Allan

... was always in confusion. Mrs. Gourlay had asked for another servant, but Gourlay would not allow that; "one's enough," said he, and what he once laid down he never went back on. Mrs. Gourlay had to muddle along as best she could, and having no strength either of mind or body, she let things drift, and took refuge in ...
— The House with the Green Shutters • George Douglas Brown

... in his power to conciliate the different parties, but has now concluded that Paris must be conquered by the troops of Versailles. Every day there comes more disturbing news. How will it all end? When shall we get out of this muddle? En attendant, we live ...
— In the Courts of Memory 1858-1875. • L. de Hegermann-Lindencrone

... of mine called "The First Message," also in Gall's edition, was sent over by telegraph to America. What a miserable muddle, by the way, those meddlesome revisers have made of The Angel's Message;—preferring a dubious sigma to a comma, they have utterly spoilt that sublime trilogy by making "Peace upon earth, goodwill towards men," read "Peace upon ...
— My Life as an Author • Martin Farquhar Tupper

... otherwise would have been chilled to a moral death. The love of women and of all those people who had not been called upon to fight went out to those poilus at the front, in waves of emotion which reached as far as the advanced trenches. By millions of letters, which in spite of an almost hopeless muddle of the postal service did at last reach the soldier, they knew that France, the very heart of France, was full of pity and hero-worship and yearning for them. By the gifts which came to them—after months of delay, sometimes—not only from their own kinsfolk but from unknown benefactors, school ...
— The Soul of the War • Philip Gibbs

... sound of footsteps without. He sprang up, crying, "I 've been waiting so long for you!" A servant opened the door to bring him a message. Oakley dismissed him angrily. What did he want to go down to the Continental for to drink and talk politics to a lot of muddle-pated fools when he had a brother in Paris who was an artist and a letter from him lay unread in his hand? His patience and his temper were going. Leslie was careless and unfeeling. She ought to come; he was ...
— The Sport of the Gods • Paul Laurence Dunbar

... Mr. Mitchell slipped into a smoking jacket with a violent velvet lining and sat in his den—a den bedecorated after the manner known to the muddle-minded as artistic, but more aptly described by Sir Anthony Gloster as "beastly." To this den came now the ...
— Copper Streak Trail • Eugene Manlove Rhodes

... hardly believe that we have this sense of self-importance only to get rid of it," I said. "It all seems to me a dreadful muddle—to shut up these lovely little things inside millions of stones, and then to give us the wish to break a couple, only that we may reflect that they were not meant for us ...
— Father Payne • Arthur Christopher Benson

... Jan's skepticism was amply justified. In the thirty-five-day trip thus begun—which should have been completed in sixteen days—Jan was given as striking an example of the effects of man's muddle-headed, slack-minded incompetence as that which Jean had furnished him of the effects of man's able-bodied, clear-headed competence and efficiency. Jan never worked it out in precisely this way, but after his own simple and direct fashion he came to the definite conclusion, before he ...
— Jan - A Dog and a Romance • A. J. Dawson

... photograph almost reverently—"why, I'd go through fire and water but I'd keep myself decent; ain't you a silly old fool, now? We've made our piles, you can go back and take her a fortune, give her jewels and pretty dresses, and all the fal-de-lals that women love. You'll never do it if you muddle yourself up with that stuff. Pull yourself together, old 'un. Chuck the drink till we've seen this thing ...
— A Millionaire of Yesterday • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... of this kind Nelson was a clear and accurate thinker, and in the admiral he had to do with a muddle-headed, irresolute superior. Hughes had already been badly worried and prodded, on matters concerning his own neglected duties, by his unquiet young subordinate, who was never satisfied to leave bad enough alone, but kept raising knotty points to harass an easy-going old gentleman, ...
— The Life of Nelson, Vol. I (of 2) - The Embodiment of the Sea Power of Great Britain • A. T. (Alfred Thayer) Mahan

... spite of the poor fellow's entreaties to be allowed to remain with him. Miss Macdonald had only passports for three and the danger was urgent. He was a faithful and affectionate friend, this O'Neal, if a little boastful and muddle-headed. He could shortly afterwards have escaped to France—as O'Sullivan did—in a French ship, if he had not insisted on going to Skye to try to fetch off the Prince. He missed the Prince, and fell into the ...
— The True Story Book • Andrew Lang

... "Lor, lummy! Ain't we got no pigs in England? That there food won't be wasted. We'll be eatin' it in sausages w'en we goes acrost the Channel"; whereupon he dismissed the whole question from his mind. This seemed to me then the typical Anglo-Saxon attitude. Everywhere there was waste, muddle-headedness, and apparently it was nobody's business, nobody's concern. Camps were sited in the wrong places and buildings erected only to be condemned. Tons of food were purchased overseas, transported across thousands ...
— Kitchener's Mob - Adventures of an American in the British Army • James Norman Hall

... roadmaster curled up in the caboose, for they had been routed out at an unseemly hour; the station agent amused himself reading the messages that rattled through to the South and back, telling of a muddle at headquarters. When a wrecking train is held for orders, it is safe to assume that ...
— The Short Line War • Merwin-Webster

... platitudes of the muddle-headed multitude are surely the only people for whom they are true. It is they alone who are the materialists, confusing as they do the spirit of romance with its worn-out garments of bygone fashions. Such people are so clearly out of court ...
— Vanishing Roads and Other Essays • Richard Le Gallienne

... help? I had no money to bolster up affairs! Wilmarth was awfully blue. I didn't suppose anything could be made of the business, it was in such a muddle. And it couldn't now, mother, if Floyd had not sunk thousands; I don't see how he expects to get it back ...
— Floyd Grandon's Honor • Amanda Minnie Douglas

... in that or in myself. But, 'du Himmel!' Thou shouldst have heard mine old love warble herself forth. To my utter astonishment, I was perfect master of the instrument. Is not this most strange? Thou knowest I had never learned it; and thou rememberest what a poor muddle I made at Marietta in playing difficult passages; and I certainly have not practiced; and yet there I commanded and the blessed notes obeyed me, and when I had finished, amid a storm of applause, Herr Thielepape arose and ran to me and grasped my hand, and declared that he hat never heert de flude ...
— Sidney Lanier • Edwin Mims

... British relations with Afghanistan is one which illustrates the infinite capacity of our race to "muddle through" to some more or less satisfactory settlement. This was especially the case in the spring and summer of 1880, when the accession of Mr. Gladstone to power and the disaster of Maiwand changed the diplomatic and military situation. ...
— The Development of the European Nations, 1870-1914 (5th ed.) • John Holland Rose

... woods, in which abounded maize, fruits, and tobacco, with game of every kind, could possibly have induced content. Content, as Christians know, comes but with faith, and a true knowledge of the dogma is above liberty. Kindly, but muddle-headedly, he deplored their lot, their want of clothes, their want of interest in their God, their lack of knowledge of that God's commands. Then, coming to the point, he spoke of hell, and told the astonished Indians that it was quite impossible for them to avoid its flames, unless, ...
— A Vanished Arcadia, • R. B. Cunninghame Graham

... go into rights, Mr. Clark," the judge retorted, "the whole thing is a hopeless muddle. None of us in a very real sense has any rights—extremely ...
— Clark's Field • Robert Herrick

... something. It's a clever trick, but it won't hold water. That blaze which was done to muddle you was cut with an axe; this which I made was done with a bowie-knife. It's the real one. We're not far off ...
— Frontier Stories • Bret Harte

... ills—terrible destructions, madness even, the ruin of lives—for which the embrace of man and woman would be a remedy. No one thinks of questioning it. Terrible evils and a remedy in a delight and joy! And man has chosen so to muddle his life that he must say: 'There, that would be a remedy, but I cannot use it. ...
— Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 6 (of 6) • Havelock Ellis

... never come to much good, Jenny Spinner," she cried. "What with a muck of dirty dishes in one corner and a muddle of ragged clouts in another, you're the very model of a wife for a farm hand! Can't sew a gown for yerself neither, but bound to send it into town to be made for ye, and couldn't put a button on a pair of breeches for fear ...
— Innocent - Her Fancy and His Fact • Marie Corelli

... Lady Kellynch had that quiet dignity and natural ease and distinction sometimes seen in the widow of a knight, but unknown amongst the old aristocracy. It was generally supposed, or, at all events, stated, that the late Sir Percy Kellynch had been knighted by mistake for somebody else; through a muddle owing to somebody's deafness. The result was the same, since his demise left her with a handle to her name, but no one to turn it (to quote the mot of a well-known wit), and she looked, at the very least, like a ...
— Bird of Paradise • Ada Leverson

... ordered, happier, finer, securer. They imagined cities grown more powerful and peoples made rich and multitudinous by their efforts, they thought in terms of harbours and shining navies, great roads engineered marvellously, jungles cleared and deserts conquered, the ending of muddle and diseases and dirt and misery; the ending of confusions that waste human possibilities; they thought of these things with passion and desire as other men think of the soft lines and tender beauty of women. Thousands ...
— The New Machiavelli • Herbert George Wells

... were themselves besieged, surrounded, and well-nigh ready for a general wiping out. They killed a couple of "little fellows," or, rather, some of their hired Texas cowboys did it for them, but that was all they accomplished, except well-nigh to bankrupt Wyoming in the legal muddle, out of which, of course, nothing came. There were in this party of cattle men a member of the legislature, a member of the stock commission, some two dozen wealthy cattle men, two Harvard graduates, and a young Englishman in search of adventure. They made, on the whole, ...
— The Story of the Outlaw - A Study of the Western Desperado • Emerson Hough

... marriage, familiarity, knowledge of words and ways, sweethearting and trafficking, so that they know the children of the Rom as the house-world does not know them, and they in some sort belong together. It is a muddle, perhaps, and a puzzle; I doubt if anybody quite understands it. No novelist, no writer whatever, has as yet clearly explained the curious fact that our entire nomadic population, excepting tramps, is not, as we thought in our childhood, composed of English people like ourselves. ...
— The Gypsies • Charles G. Leland

... you, my money. Paid off t'dy. 'E knew it. Sly." Jameson had become almost sober. Out of the muddle one thing loomed clearly: he could not be revenged upon his cabin-mate without getting himself into deep trouble. Money; he'd ...
— The Voice in the Fog • Harold MacGrath

... go on digging and knowing all the time as them lads is breaking their necks over the cliff side. Never was in such a muddle as this before. Why didn't they say what they were going ...
— Crown and Sceptre - A West Country Story • George Manville Fenn

... much of the family pride in his composition, he resolved not to muddle the blood of the Witheringtons by any cross from Cateaton Street or Mincing Lane; and after a proper degree of research, he selected the daughter of a Scotch earl, who went to London with a bevy of nine in a Leith smack to barter blood for wealth. Mr. Witherington being so unfortunate ...
— The Pirate and The Three Cutters • Frederick Marryat

... heard. Bald-headed: 'to go it bald-beaded;' in great haste, as where one rushes out without his hat. Bogue: 'I don't git much done 'thout I bogue right in along 'th my men.' Carry: a portage. Cat-nap: a short doze. Cat-stick: a small stick. Chowder-head: a muddle-brain. Cling-john: a soft cake of rye. Cocoanut; the head. Cohees: applied to the people of certain settlements in Western Pennsylvania, from their use of the archaic form Quo' he. Dunnow'z I know: the nearest your true Yankee ever comes to acknowledging ignorance. Essence-pedler: a ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell • James Lowell

... treated badly that evening: 'your high-mindedness is admirable, quite admirable, but it won't work; it doesn't fit into modern conditions. Theoretically, Marriage is a Holy Mystery no doubt—in practice it's apt to be an Unholy Muddle, sometimes a Mess. Personally I believe ...
— Modern marriage and how to bear it • Maud Churton Braby

... William, dig away! Why you do spuddle A'most so weak's a child. How you do muddle! Gi'e me the speaede a-bit. A pig would rout It out a'most so nimbly wi' ...
— Poems of Rural Life in the Dorset Dialect • William Barnes

... nature had transmuted his disadvantages into gold. To him the lessons of such a childhood and boyhood as he had had, were energy, self-reliance, a determination to overcome all obstacles, to fight the battles of life, in all honour and rectitude, so as to win. From the muddle of his father's affairs he had taken away a lesson of method, order, and punctuality in business and other arrangements. "What is worth doing at all is worth doing well," was not only one of his favourite maxims—it was ...
— Life of Charles Dickens • Frank Marzials

... the Charlottetown Penhallows," explained Mrs. Frederick. "He is a lawyer there. He is a first cousin of Lucinda's and a second of George's—or is he? Oh, bother! You must go to Uncle John if you want the genealogy. I'm in a chronic muddle concerning Penhallow relationship. And, as for Romney, of course you can speak to him about anything you like except Lucinda. Oh, you innocent! To ask him if he didn't think Lucinda was looking well! And ...
— Chronicles of Avonlea • Lucy Maud Montgomery

... bottom of them. The one thing I don't quite understand is how he came to know she was in Ballymoy. I'll find that out later on. In the meanwhile I think I'd better go into Ballymoy after all. It's a nuisance, for I was extremely comfortable on the yacht, but I can't leave things in the muddle they're in now, and there's nobody else about the place I could trust to ...
— The Simpkins Plot • George A. Birmingham

... hour. Once in a hundred years a six months' carnival is allowable to so ponderous a body. Civilization here aims to see itself not simply as in a glass, but in a multitude of glasses. To steer its optics through the architectural muddle in the basin before us it will need the retina that lies behind ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, April, 1876. • Various

... in one tint if you can help it, and mix them loosely. If you must use more colors, mix still more loosely. Put all the colors together, one beside the other, drag them together with the brush, scoop them up loosely on the end of it, and lay the tint on freely and frankly. Never muddle the color on the canvas. Don't put one color over another more than you can help; you will only get a thick mass of paint of one kind mixing with a mass of another, and the result will be dirty color, which of all things ...
— The Painter in Oil - A complete treatise on the principles and technique - necessary to the painting of pictures in oil colors • Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst

... conundrum which the Israelites gave up: "How do you make bricks without straw?" They made a patent brick, built the Howard Museum in Washington, (was it a museum or a college?) the thing tumbled down, and a Congressional committee sat among its ruins. Poor Gen. HOWARD is in a muddle, and wishes, from the bottom of his heart, that we had free ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 7, May 14, 1870 • Various

... of hope had begun to glow under Slavens' breath. Perhaps Walker and sheep were the solution of his life's muddle. He would find Walker before the young man took somebody else in with him, expose the true state of his finances, and see whether Walker would entertain a proposal to give him a band ...
— Claim Number One • George W. (George Washington) Ogden

... or coffee. Blessed are they who draw their inspirations from the stars, the grand and beautiful in nature, and the glory of the human face divine, for such sources niggardly landlords and ignorant cooks can neither muddle nor exhaust. After the meeting we were invited into the Executive apartments and presented to Mrs. Fairchild, a woman of rare beauty, cultivation, and common sense. She, as well as the Governor, expressed great interest ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume II • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage

... fairly nauseated him. He looked at the child opposite as he ate, and she looked as beautiful as an angel, and as good as one to him. He thought how the little thing had come back to him, her unfortunate father, who had made such a muddle of his life, who had been able to do so little for her; how she had given up the certainty of a happy and comfortable home for uncertainty, and possibly privation, and the purest gratitude and love that was so intense possessed him. Looking at Charlotte, he almost forgot the hatred of the man who ...
— The Debtor - A Novel • Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

... "You fool, you muddle-headed blunderer!" he exclaimed, with a string of oaths. "Take these cuffs off! You'll lose your job for this trick. When I ...
— In the Shadow of the Hills • George C. Shedd

... last, Mr. Polwarth, a strange and very uncomfortable doubt has rushed in upon me, and I find myself altogether unfit to tackle it. I have no weapons—not a single argument of the least weight. I wonder if it be a law of nature that no sooner shall a man get into a muddle with one thing, than a thousand other muddles shall come pouring in upon him, as if Muddle itself were going to swallow him up! Here am I just beginning to get a little start in honester ways, when up comes the ugly head of the said doubt, swelling itself ...
— Thomas Wingfold, Curate • George MacDonald

... have really gone, and if 'Gentleman Jim' knew anything about this, he would surely say, 'I 'spose their time hadn't come yet, little missie.' That's it, Carlo. Their time had not come yet. But they have left things in a fearful muddle, and we will have to work as we never worked before. The first thing to be ...
— The Petticoat Commando - Boer Women in Secret Service • Johanna Brandt

... face of the Melancolia viciously. The paint did not smudge quickly enough. She took a palette-knife and scraped, following each stroke with the wet duster. In five minutes the picture was a formless, scarred muddle of colours. She threw the paint-stained duster into the studio stove, stuck out her tongue at the sleeper, and whispered, "Bilked!" as she turned to run down the staircase. She would never see Torpenhow any more, but she had at least ...
— The Works of Rudyard Kipling One Volume Edition • Rudyard Kipling

... and he realised that there was more than one kind of courage. He, himself, had called Bob Nancarrow a coward, because he refused to enlist. Now he realised that there was more courage in Bob Nancarrow's cowardice than in his own bravery. Oh, it was all an awful muddle! He ought to tell Nancy what Lieutenant Proctor had related to him just before he was taken away to the hospital; but he couldn't. If he did, he would forfeit his own chance, and he might—yes, he was ...
— All for a Scrap of Paper - A Romance of the Present War • Joseph Hocking

... candid opinion except on all-fours. A valuable testimonial, that! And how do you suppose I can take his money? No, Mr. Fakrash, if I have to go on all-fours myself for it, I must say, and I will say, that you've made a most frightful muddle ...
— The Brass Bottle • F. Anstey

... progress of his work, he was communicative to his few intimates, though never reading aloud extracts or allowing them to be seen. In 1872 he would speak pathetically of his "Crimean muddle," perplexed, as he well might be, by the intricacies of Inkerman. Asked if he will not introduce a Te Deum on the fall of Louis Napoleon, he answered that to write without the stimulus of combat would be a task beyond his energy; "when ...
— Biographical Study of A. W. Kinglake • Rev. W. Tuckwell

... marriage the perplexed girl had a talk with her father. Later she wondered if the hours alone with the sick man had not led to her decision to marry. The father talked of his life and advised the daughter to avoid being led into another such muddle. He abused Tom Willard, and that led Elizabeth to come to the clerk's defense. The sick man became excited and tried to get out of bed. When she would not let him walk about he began to complain. "I've never been let alone," he said. "Although I've worked hard ...
— Winesburg, Ohio • Sherwood Anderson

... not tell him. I had never thought of such a possibility before. He showed me by calculations on paper, which Lord Kelvin, no doubt, or Professor Lodge, or Professor Karl Pearson, or any of those great scientific people might have understood, but which simply reduced me to a hopeless muddle, that not only was such a substance possible, but that it must satisfy certain conditions. It was an amazing piece of reasoning. Much as it amazed and exercised me at the time, it would be impossible to reproduce it here. "Yes," I said to it all, "yes; go on!" Suffice it for this story that he ...
— The First Men In The Moon • H. G. Wells

... of uneasy thought. Bob Hewett—so John said—had no knowledge of his sister's situation, otherwise Pennyloaf might have come to know about it, and in that case, perchance, Jane herself. Why not? Into what a wretched muddle of concealments and inconsistencies ...
— The Nether World • George Gissing

... go-between he offered the Whig leader his alliance for the overthrow of Addington and the formation of a Ministry of the talented men of all parties. Here, then, is the origin of the broad-bottomed or All the Talents Administrations which produced so singular a muddle after the death of Pitt. The Fox-Grenville bargain cannot be styled immoral like that of Fox and North in 1782; for it expressly excluded all compromise on matters of conviction. Nevertheless it was a tactical mistake, ...
— William Pitt and the Great War • John Holland Rose

... on his part was more angry and disgusted than ever. He began to see that there was a muddle somewhere, and that his identity was unsuspected still. This young man, for all his fair speaking and pretended shrewdness, was no conjurer after all. He was left to rely on his own resources, and he had begun to lose all confidence in their power ...
— Vice Versa - or A Lesson to Fathers • F. Anstey

... the famous last things over," said Madeline with a regretful little sigh. "I'm glad we had it before the alums, and the families begin to arrive and muddle everything up." ...
— Betty Wales Senior • Margaret Warde

... time had been wasted, legislative preparations had been thrown away, and everything was now back again in just the same condition as when the King made up his mind to dismiss the Melbourne Administration. The whole blame for the muddle rested on the King, who now found himself compelled to take up again with Lord Melbourne just as if nothing had happened. The King, indeed, made an attempt to induce Lord Grey to come out of his retirement and form another Ministry; but Lord Grey was not to be prevailed upon to accept ...
— A History of the Four Georges and of William IV, Volume IV (of 4) • Justin McCarthy and Justin Huntly McCarthy

... a great poet who sometimes nodded. . . . Coleridge was a muddle-brained metaphysician who, by some strange freak of fortune, turned out a few real poems amongst the dreary flood of inanity which was his wont. . . . I have been through the poems, and find that the only ones which have any interest for me are: (1) 'Ancient Mariner'; ...
— A History of English Romanticism in the Nineteenth Century • Henry A. Beers

... Presently he returned, bringing with him a copy of his wife's poems. 'Will you take this as a record of what I hope is only the first of many meetings?' he said. 'I can't find any of my own in that muddle upstairs, but I would rather you would have this than any of mine.' Yes, I took it, as proud as a boy could be who receives such an honor from his chief idol; prouder than I shall ever be again as I read the inscription: 'With the best ...
— Stories of Authors, British and American • Edwin Watts Chubb

... up, what should he see but a Lamb just beginning to drink a little lower down. "There's my supper," thought he, "if only I can find some excuse to seize it." Then he called out to the Lamb, "How dare you muddle the water from which ...
— The Junior Classics, Volume 1 • Willam Patten

... sir," said the boy; "but they'll only make a muddle of it, sir. Fancy fat Sam and the cook ...
— The Skipper's Wooing, and The Brown Man's Servant • W. W. Jacobs

... into his head that I went below because I thought he was making a muddle of the speed. As a matter of fact, he knows every blessed thing I do about our motors, and Williamson is loyal ...
— The Submarine Boys and the Middies - The Prize Detail at Annapolis • Victor G. Durham

... all friendliness of manner to Staupitz in his affair, but neither Staupitz nor himself trusted the Italian when out of sight. If Caietan should use force against him, he would publish the written reply he gave him. Caietan might call himself a Thomist, but he was a muddle-headed, ignorant theologian and Christian, and as clumsy in giving judgment in the matter as a donkey with a harp. Luther added further that an appeal would be drawn up for him in the form best fitted to the occasion. He further ...
— Life of Luther • Julius Koestlin

... same reason that it produces so many unhappy men. But all the reforms were directed to rescuing the industrialism rather than the happiness. Poor couples were to be divorced because they were already divided. Through all this modern muddle there runs the curious principle of sacrificing the ancient uses of things because they do not fit in with the modern abuses. When the tares are found in the wheat, the greatest promptitude and practicality ...
— Eugenics and Other Evils • G. K. Chesterton

... singular muddle, he pointed out, seemed to be whether or not the poor fellow had known that the boat was upset. Well, who could say what he knew, an intoxicated man in a blind passion? Not Carlisle, certainly, plunged suddenly into the sea and intensely occupied with ...
— V. V.'s Eyes • Henry Sydnor Harrison

... scholar. Above all, he was fortunate in a seclusion that prompted study and deepened meditation, while it enabled him to converse with his genius disengaged from those worldly influences which would have disenchanted it of its mystic enthusiasm, if they did not muddle it ingloriously away. Surely this sequestered nest was more congenial to the brooding of those ethereal visions of the "Faery Queen" and to giving ...
— Among My Books • James Russell Lowell

... something," replied Trot seriously. "Things seem in an awful muddle here, jus' now, and they'll be worse if we don't stop this witch from doing ...
— The Scarecrow of Oz • L. Frank Baum

... the Church, the 'Pillar of the State!' There, all sorts of worthless, incompetent men are hastily thrust into livings by wealthy patrons who care not a jot as to whether they are morally or intellectually fit for their sacred mission,—and a disgraceful universal muddle is the result. From this muddle, which resembles a sort of stagnant pool, emerge the strangest fungus-growths,—clergymen who take to acting a 'miracle-play,' ostensibly for the purposes of charity, but really to gratify their own tastes and leanings ...
— Ardath - The Story of a Dead Self • Marie Corelli

... said, "don't muddle my brains any more with your idiotic reasonings! Take him along, ...
— Chapters from My Autobiography • Mark Twain

... knowledge, and the extent of our differences of opinion, while presumptuous incapacity attempts to teach us on the one hand, and designing iniquity, or pure prejudice, seeks to mislead us on the other, and misconception of one's meaning and motives all round makes such a muddle of the whole that—that—it seems to me the search after truth is almost hopeless, at least to ...
— Philosopher Jack • R.M. Ballantyne

... in particular there was a freckled underbred young man who handed in what was evidently a carefully prepared memorandum upon what he called "my positions." Apparently he had a muddle of doubts about the early fathers and the dates of the earlier authentic copies of the gospels, things ...
— Soul of a Bishop • H. G. Wells

... getting worse and worse you mislay your exercise-book, you drop your arithmetic in the mud, your pencil breaks, and when you open your knife to sharpen the pencil you split your nail. On such a day you jam your thumb in doors, and muddle the messages you are sent on by grown-ups. You upset your tea, and your bread-and-butter won't hold together for a moment. And when at last you get to bed usually in disgrace it is no comfort at all to you to know that not a single bit of it is ...
— The Enchanted Castle • E. Nesbit

... follower John Curzon that as their deaths were so near he felt a sudden interest in what had never interested him before—the story of John’s life before they had been brought so close to each other. The heroic but dull-witted soldier acceded to his master’s request, and the incoherent, muddle-headed way in which he gave his autobiography was full of a dramatic and subtle humour—was almost worthy of him who in three or four words created the foolish fat scullion in ‘Tristram Shandy.’ This he refused to print, in deference, I suspect, to ...
— Old Familiar Faces • Theodore Watts-Dunton

... trace behind. With The Wild Duck fantasy comes back, but with a more precise and explicit symbolism, not yet disturbing the reality of things. Here the irony is more disinterested than even in Ghosts, for it turns back on the reformer and shows us how tragic a muddle we may bring about in the pursuit of truth and in the name of our ideals. In each of the plays which follows we see the return and encroachment of symbolism, the poetic impulse crying for satisfaction and ...
— Figures of Several Centuries • Arthur Symons

... expectations from him,' said Peter, feeling that he was getting into a muddle. 'The fact is,' he said cordially, 'I shall be interested to hear news of the man if you can obtain ...
— Peter and Jane - or The Missing Heir • S. (Sarah) Macnaughtan

... Athenians— See our ambassadors are always drunk. For when we visit Sparta sober, then We're on the alert for trickery all the while So that we miss half of the things they say, And misinterpret things that were never said, And then report the muddle back to Athens. But now we're charmed with each other. They might cap With the Telamon-catch instead of the Cleitagora, And we'd applaud and praise them just the same; We're not too ...
— Lysistrata • Aristophanes

... a terrible muddle, Alida. If God is so ready to forgive, how do you account for all the evil and suffering in ...
— He Fell in Love with His Wife • Edward P. Roe

... 'It does not muddle me; it's against the Bible, and I'd rather go by that than by Eva,' said Vava; and that ...
— A City Schoolgirl - And Her Friends • May Baldwin

... ancient customs; and of more recent ideas about the blessed final annihilation, imported from India by saintly Chinese missionaries at the epoch of our Middle Ages. The bonzes themselves are puzzled; what a muddle, therefore, must not all this become, when jumbled together in the childish brain of ...
— Madame Chrysantheme Complete • Pierre Loti

... misleading report without correction from the Post Office. It all may spell corruption: but it need not. No one familiar with the workings of a Government department is likely to be surprised at any amount of muddle and incompetence. Matters are forgotten and then in the effort to make up for lost time important steps are simply omitted. Officials are pig-headed and unreasonable. And as to ...
— Gilbert Keith Chesterton • Maisie Ward

... his actions belong to romance. His clear, manly style, his sturdy commonsense, the rapier play of his epigrams, the formal, logical architecture of his thoughts, his complacent limitations, his horror of mystery and Gothic half-lights, his harsh contempt for all the sacred muddle of priestly traditions and aristocratic politics, his assurance, his intellectual courage, his humanity—all that, in its best and its worst, belongs to the century of Voltaire and the Revolution. In his spirit of adventure, in his passion for movement and combat, there Paine is romantic. ...
— Shelley, Godwin and Their Circle • H. N. Brailsford

... hands. There were yards of them, rods of them, miles of them—they belonged to a six or sixteen horse set. I do not know which. I sat on them. They writhed in my lap, wrapped around my feet, and around the gun against my knee, in a hopeless and dangerous muddle. Of course the reins were twisted. I did not know one from the other. I gave a desperate jerk which sent the leaders plunging to the right, where fortunately they brought up against the rock wall. Had they gone the other way nothing ...
— A Woman Tenderfoot • Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson

... an unbridled moment Bas realized that he was acting the muddle-headed fool in revealing his fear to a subordinate, his hold over whom depended on an unbroken pose of mastery ...
— The Roof Tree • Charles Neville Buck

... shame over Palmerston's bluster followed by a meek British inaction. The debate came on a vote of censure, July 8, in the course of which Derby characterized governmental policy as one of "meddle and muddle." The censure was carried in the Lords by nine votes, but was defeated in the Commons by a ministerial majority of eighteen. It was the sharpest political crisis of Palmerston's Ministry during the Civil War. ...
— Great Britain and the American Civil War • Ephraim Douglass Adams

... that I did not regard mustard poultices as panaceas, the vox populi as the Vox Dei, or the policy of the other side as the machinations of the Devil; that politics was all a game of guess-work and muddle and compromise at the best; that, at the worst, as during a General Election, it was as ignoble a pastime as the wit of man had devised. To take it seriously would be the course of a fanatic, a man devoid of the sense ...
— Simon the Jester • William J. Locke

... do any indexing? Three years ago Michael would have replied: "You? Nonsense, my dear. You'd only make a muddle of it. Much better stick to your housekeeping" (which as a matter of fact was done in those days by cook, butler and parlour-maid). But ...
— Mrs. Warren's Daughter - A Story of the Woman's Movement • Sir Harry Johnston

... left to its own courses, Shelby would have borrowed no further trouble, but a fortuitous matter of radishes and ice-water suddenly put the quarrel on an altogether different level. About the hour when Bernard Graves hobnobbed with Jasper Hinchey, the third factor in the Demijohn District's political muddle sat down to dinner in a neighboring city. "Chuck" O'Rourke was fond of his dinner. A childhood of squalid poverty had taught him the joy of a square meal. The story of the years linking the famished boy to the pudgy red-faced man of the restaurant is unessential,—an ...
— The Henchman • Mark Lee Luther

... Why should it not be?" she rejoined, in a not very convincing tone. "Now I shall rely on you—and I am sure it will not be in vain—to respect my wishes. Things seem to be in a horrible muddle," she added with a rather dreary laugh, "but let's hope they ...
— The Hunt Ball Mystery • Magnay, William

... with each other. If only the Jacobin bayonets do not get in the way; if only the self-styled "scientific" theorists do not thrust themselves in to darken counsel! Or rather let them expound their muddle-headed theories as much as they like, provided they have no authority, no power! And that admirable spirit of organization inherent in the people, above all in every social grade of the French nation, but which they have so seldom been allowed to exercise, will ...
— The Conquest of Bread • Peter Kropotkin

... politely, scurrying with his best Eton manners to find a chair for the newcomer. 'It's an awful muddle, but that's Pamela!' ...
— Elizabeth's Campaign • Mrs. Humphry Ward



Words linked to "Muddle" :   roil, dog's dinner, mix up, rile, dog's breakfast, disorderliness, confuse, disorder, rummage, difficulty



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