fumbles; fumbled; fumbling
1 [no object] : to search for something by reaching or touching with your fingers in an awkward or clumsy way
She fumbled in her pocket for her keys.
He fumbled (around) for the light switch.
— often used figuratively
She fumbled for an answer but couldn't think of one.
2 : to handle something in an awkward or clumsy way
— usually + with
She fumbled with her keys as she tried to unlock the door.
3 sports : to fail to catch or hold the ball
He was hit hard and fumbled on the 20-yard line.
He fumbled the ball on the 20-yard line.
— fumble noun, plural fumbles [count]
(American football) He had one fumble during last week's game.
— fumbler noun, plural fumblers [count]
— fumbling adjective
He made a fumbling attempt to explain his behavior.