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Fumble   Listen
verb
Fumble  v. i.  (past & past part. fumbled; pres. part. fumbling)  
1.
To feel or grope about; to make awkward attempts to do or find something. "Adams now began to fumble in his pockets."
2.
To grope about in perplexity; to seek awkwardly; as, to fumble for an excuse. "My understanding flutters and my memory fumbles." "Alas! how he fumbles about the domains."
3.
To handle much; to play childishly; to turn over and over. "I saw him fumble with the sheets, and play with flowers."






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Fumble" Quotes from Famous Books



... a sulphur match . . . Ha! at last my garret. Fumble at the latch, Close the door and bar it. Bed, you graciously Wait, despite my scorning . . . So, bibaciously Mad ...
— Ballads of a Bohemian • Robert W. Service

... Mr. Brown should sign the paper, and finally began to fumble in his pistol pocket, whereupon it passed through Mr. Brown's mind "that the little wretch might be meaning to shoot me." As he got the pistol out, Mr. Brown seized his wrist and turned his hand downward. After one shot had been fired, the struggle continued until the ...
— George Brown • John Lewis

... preliminary questions; asking him, peradventure, whether he pleaded guilty or not guilty; considering him something in the light of a culprit at the bar; when they were brought to a pause by seeing him lay down his pipe and begin to fumble with his walking-staff. For a moment those present would not have given half a crown for both the crowns of the commissioners; but Peter Stuyvesant repressed his mighty wrath and stayed his hand; he scanned the varlets from head to foot, satchels and all, with a look of ...
— Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete • Washington Irving

... each other on the table rock, and, feeling like another Sindbad the Sailor, I watched my new friend fumble in his bag and lay out at his side all sorts of odds and ends of string, fish-hooks, chewing-gum, material for making a fire, and so on, until at last he came to a package (done up, I noted with delight, in a broad, green leaf which had certainly been growing that morning), and unrolling it, ...
— Gulliver of Mars • Edwin L. Arnold

... fragrant and savory—and placed it on the serving-table near the open window. There was a bit, of wire loose at the lower end of the screen, and, in the one second Marguerite's back was turned—just one second, but just long enough—Missy saw a velvety nose fumble with the loose wire, saw a sleek neck wedge itself through the crevice, and a long red tongue lap approvingly ...
— Missy • Dana Gatlin

... shuffle a few steps and fumble with a drawer of the desk. In a moment the cold hard butt of a pistol was thrust into his hand. It had a ...
— Astounding Stories, March, 1931 • Various

... said Rosina, turning her wrinkled face toward me, and actually shaking all over with the recollection of her terror. "I thought I should have sank into the earth! I stood for a moment aghast, and then I began to fumble in my pocket. 'Where can the key be?' said I, pretending to search for it; but my countenance betrayed me, and my voice shook so, that he read me like a book. I am sure he knew the truth from that moment. He looked hard at ...
— Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 3, July, 1851 • Various

... the position is one of instinct like that of a bicycle racer. His eyes are strained, his nerves and muscles at tension—everything ready for excitement—and the book, lying open, leaves his hands perfectly free to drum on the sides of the chair, slap his legs and knees, fumble in his pockets or even scratch his head, as emotion and interest demand. Does anybody deny that the highest proof of special genius is the possession of the instinct to adapt itself to the matter in hand? ...
— The Dead Men's Song - Being the Story of a Poem and a Reminiscent Sketch of its - Author Young Ewing Allison • Champion Ingraham Hitchcock

... of five, ten, and twenty-dollar bills lay snugly inserted between the leaves of the Bible. The tramp who lay on the floor, as yet too surprised to attempt to rise, rolled over and seized the book as a football player seizes the pigskin after a fumble, covering it with his body, his arms, and sticking out his elbows as a further protection to ...
— The Mucker • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... but it held, and I got to the top, and began to fumble for the hasp or lock of the scuttle. It was thick with cob-webs and dust, and for a while it refused to move. While I was working at it I heard Mr. Snider open the door at the foot of the ...
— The Voyage of the Hoppergrass • Edmund Lester Pearson

... lazarette. Then I understood. He thought he had me inside. Also, he was blind, blind as a bat. I watched him, breathing carefully so that he should not hear me. He stepped quickly to his state-room. I saw his hand miss the door-knob by an inch, quickly fumble for it, and find it. This was my chance. I tiptoed across the cabin and to the top of the stairs. He came back, dragging a heavy sea-chest, which he deposited on top of the trap. Not content with this he fetched a second chest and placed it on top of the first. Then he gathered up the marmalade ...
— The Sea-Wolf • Jack London

... spring-laden breeze Out of the gladdening west is sinister With sounds of nameless battle overseas; Though when we turn and question in suspense If these things be indeed after these ways, And what things are to follow after these, Our fluent men of place and consequence Fumble and fill their mouths with hollow phrase, Or for the end-all of deep arguments Intone their dull commercial liturgies — I dare not yet believe! My ears are shut! I will not hear the thin satiric praise And muffled laughter of our enemies, Bidding us never sheathe ...
— The Little Book of Modern Verse • Jessie B. Rittenhouse

... to fumble in his blouse with a series of extraordinary contortions. After a few moments, he extracted from apparently no particular place a child's apron, which he laid upon ...
— Selected Stories • Bret Harte

... Teacher has His message level to all minds, high and low, wise and foolish, cultivated and rude. This Teacher does not only impart wisdom by words as from without, though He does that too, but He comes into men's spirits, and communicates Himself, and so makes them wise. Other teachers fumble at the outside, but 'in the hidden parts He makes me to know wisdom.' So it is safe to take this Teacher absolutely, and to say, 'Thou art my Master, Thy word is truth, and the opening of Thy lips to me ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - St. Matthew Chaps. IX to XXVIII • Alexander Maclaren

... keep my place at your side and bear your name unreproved and taste to the full the awe and delight of a passion such as few women ever feel, because few women were ever loved by a man like you. Had my thoughts been elsewhere, my fingers might have forgotten to fumble along that wall, and I had been simply wretched to-day,—and innocent. Innocent! O, where in God's universe can I be made innocent again and fit to look in your face and to love—heart-breaking thought—even ...
— The Filigree Ball • Anna Katharine Green

... "You fumble-fisted, space-gassing jerk!" snarled Charley Brett. "Depend on you to get things messed up! That Barnard guy is all set to roll with ...
— Treachery in Outer Space • Carey Rockwell and Louis Glanzman

... pay them tribute. The manner of his capture was dramatic. A real milkman for whom Rizzi had worked in the past was marked out for slaughter. He had been blown up twice already. While he slept his wife heard some one moving in the hall. Looking out through a small window, she saw the ex-employee fumble with something and then turn out the gas on the landing. Her husband, awakened by her exit and return, asked sleepily what the ...
— Courts and Criminals • Arthur Train

... wave a white flag to keep them from mowing us down like wheat!" exclaimed Tubby, commencing to fumble in ...
— The Boy Scouts on Belgian Battlefields • Lieut. Howard Payson

... quickly. I would have turned back, but I felt that every day I could keep him away from Los Pinos was a day gained for Mrs. Whitney. He was a dangerous maniac, too. The first day he behaved himself fairly well, but the second, after supper, when we had cleaned up, he began to fumble through the packs, and finally ...
— The Best Short Stories of 1915 - And the Yearbook of the American Short Story • Various

... solved his basic problems on the planet of his origin than he began to fumble into space. Barely a century had elapsed in the exploration of the Solar System than he began to grope ...
— Adaptation • Dallas McCord Reynolds

... Meet the ball; don't wait for it to get to you. That applies to you backs," and he nodded at Tom and his two mates. "Quarter, don't fumble when you pass the ball back. Be accurate. Don't make ...
— Tom Fairfield's Pluck and Luck • Allen Chapman

... a slender brunette of a man, lean-cheeked, thin-lipped, and strong. The smooth-shaven face was a healthy sallow. All his movements were quick and precise. He did not fumble his cards. The eyes were black, direct, and piercing, with the trick of seeming to look beneath the surfaces of things. His hands, slender, fine and nervous, appeared made for delicate work, and to the most casual eye they conveyed an impression ...
— The Turtles of Tasman • Jack London

... driven and parched and bleached, by the enormous forces of industry and commerce, that all distinction in them seems to be reduced to a strange colorlessness; while the primordial animal cravings, greedy, earth-born, fumble after their aims across the sad and littered ...
— One Hundred Best Books • John Cowper Powys

... room to grumble! Hadst thou taen aff some drowsy bummle, [drone] Wha can do nought but fyke an' fumble, [fuss] 'Twad been nae plea; [grievance] But he was gleg as ony wumble, [lively, auger] That's owre ...
— Robert Burns - How To Know Him • William Allan Neilson

... solitude of the park he begged his companion, who had scarcely spoken all the way, to give him his arm, and leaned upon it as if still suffering, but watched him closely. About the middle of the park, where not a creature was in sight, he felt him begin to fumble in his coat pocket, and draw something .from it. But when, unresisted, he snatched away his other arm, Malcolm's fist followed it, and the man fell, nor made any resistance while he took from him a short stick, loaded with lead, and his own watch, which he found in his waistcoat pocket. Then ...
— The Marquis of Lossie • George MacDonald

... fumble-fingers? What's kept you this half-year? I could have burgled The Bank of England in the time. What's up? Have ...
— Krindlesyke • Wilfrid Wilson Gibson

... the girl, keeping his eyes on the Easterners, and his weapon steady. He had hung the wire coil over his shoulder, leaving his left hand free to fumble for and untie the cords around Naomi's wrists. He got ...
— When the Sleepers Woke • Arthur Leo Zagat

... demanded his money, and, when he exhibited an empty purse, Robin suggested his money was probably hidden in the meal and sternly ordered him to produce it without delay. Grumbling about his loss, the miller opened his sack, began to fumble in the meal, and, when all the outlaws were bending anxiously over it, flung a double handful of flour right into their eyes, thus blinding them temporarily. Had not other outlaws now rushed out of the thicket, the miller would doubtless have effected his escape, but ...
— The Book of the Epic • Helene A. Guerber

... methinks we have learnt this Trade of Gipsies as readily as if we had been bred upon the Road to Loretto: and yet I did so fumble, when I told the Stranger his Fortune, that I was afraid I should have told my own and yours by mistake— But methinks Hellena has been very serious ...
— The Works of Aphra Behn, Vol. I (of 6) • Aphra Behn

... fumble mysteriously under the heaviest of blue jackets, saying as he did so, "Not so much noise, young masters, not so much noise! The boy was a fool ...
— Hans Brinker - or The Silver Skates • Mary Mapes Dodge

... along the sill. They fumble on the wall. They stretch to reach the gun which stands beside the clock. Another inch and they will grasp it and Red Joe will be saved. The arm rubs against the pendulum of the clock. It swings and the clock starts to tick. And ...
— Wappin' Wharf - A Frightful Comedy of Pirates • Charles S. Brooks

... of the Dinosaur in prehistoric clays than the highway, of a little village that only five years ago was full of human faults and joys and songs and tiny tears. Down that road before the plans, of the Kaiser began to fumble with the earth, down that road—but it is useless to look back, we are too far away from five years ago, too far away from thousands of ordinary things, that never seemed as though they would ever peer at us over chasms ...
— Unhappy Far-Off Things • Lord Dunsany

... with four Volumes that were being dissected at the drawing-room Clinics, she took a hack at the first and last Chapter of each. Just enough to protect her against a Fumble if she found herself next ...
— Ade's Fables • George Ade

... Jane and like a dizzy man swayed from her with a hoarse cry and leaned shaking against a table where he kept his rider's accoutrements. He began to fumble in his saddlebags. His action brought a clinking, metallic sound—the rattling of gun-cartridges. His fingers trembled as he slipped cartridges into an extra belt. But as he buckled it over the one he habitually wore his hands became steady. This second ...
— Riders of the Purple Sage • Zane Grey

... began to fumble in her pocket. "The principle is the same whether it is Gale or Dale or Tompkins. I never expected to learn of my niece's engagement from the public press. I am confident the notice said 'Gale.' ...
— A Romantic Young Lady • Robert Grant

... fallen stones. They were dead soldiers. I hardly glanced at them, for we were in search of living men. The cars were brought to a halt outside the building and we all climbed down. I lighted a cigarette, and I noticed two of the other men fumble for matches for the same purpose. We wanted something to steady us. There was never a moment when shell-fire was not bursting in that square about us. The shrapnel bullets whipped the stones. The enemy was ...
— The Soul of the War • Philip Gibbs

... tragedies, and the romance of Parthenissa. His father began the world by giving his name to a treatise wrote by Atterbury and his club, which gained him great reputation; but (like Sir Martin Marall, who would fumble with his lute when the music was over) he published soon after a sad comedy of his own, and, what was worse, a dismal tragedy he had found among the first Earl of Orrery's papers. People could easier forgive his being partial to his own silly works, as a common frailty, than the want of judgment ...
— Lady Mary Wortley Montague - Her Life and Letters (1689-1762) • Lewis Melville

... ever shall. I need you at this moment More even than when my toothless gums did fumble About thy breast ...
— Nero • Stephen Phillips

... Lily," said Davie, trying to fumble his blind way out of the cradle and start in search ...
— An Arrow in a Sunbeam - and Other Tales • Various

... goal from the longest punts the varsity full-back could make, and how he kicked the goal after all but one of the many touch-downs the scrub team made; how little Jumbo, as quarter-back, passed the ball with never a fumble and never a bad throw; how, when it came back to his hands, he skimmed almost as closely and as silently and as swiftly over the ground as the shadow of a flying bird, and made long run after long run that won the cheers of the crowd; how B.J., Sawed-Off, ...
— The Dozen from Lakerim • Rupert Hughes

... auctions. A good book is beyond price; and it is far easier to under than over sell it. The words of the modern minor poet are as rubies, and what if his sets bring a hundred guineas?—it is more as it should be, than that any sacrilegious hand should fumble them for threepence. It recalls that golden age of which ...
— Prose Fancies • Richard Le Gallienne

... slipped off his burden and pushed it through a jagged hole at the root. Then he glanced round him, a long, stealthy look, down at the earth and up at the sky, and crept into the tree. In the dimness I could see him fumble for the thing he wanted, pause to thumb its edge, and, throwing up his chin, raise ...
— The Broad Highway • Jeffery Farnol

... heard the tramp of men coming to the door, and heard them begin to fumble with the pad-lock, and ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... time Hans had recovered his confusion; and from a certain flutter in Sybrandt, and hard breathing of Cornelis, aided by an indescribable consciousness, felt sure the pair he had to deal with were no heroes. He pretended to fumble for his money: then suddenly thrust his staff fiercely into Sybrandt's face, and drove him staggering, and lent Cornelis a back-handed slash on the ear that sent him twirling like a weathercock in March; then ...
— The Cloister and the Hearth • Charles Reade

... doing this afternoon?" asked the unconscious delinquent languidly. "Autograph quilts? I've got a lot of blocks for you—friends of mine in the city." She began to fumble in the pretty workbag she carried. "Gracious, I was sure I had them with me! Isn't that ...
— Up the Hill and Over • Isabel Ecclestone Mackay

... Fieldmouse is a cinch. That little sleight-of-hand stunt between Murphy and your nigger is working fine. They not only put it over on the judges, but none of the other owners are wise. I'd try it myself some day if I wasn't afraid somebody would fumble ...
— Old Man Curry - Race Track Stories • Charles E. (Charles Emmett) Van Loan

... seemed, but continued to fumble about, and at last, with his back turned to me, got my lamp lighted. For a moment he stood staring at the wall, as though he lacked the resolution to turn. And when he wheeled I knew that I looked upon the countenance of a man who had been broken on the wheel; ...
— The Cruise of the Shining Light • Norman Duncan

... such a rider. At moments they seemed to be ambling along harmoniously, until the bobbing cavalier would lose his balance and tug at the reins; then the horse, which had a soft mouth, would turn sideways or stand still; the rider would then smack his lips, and if this had no effect he would fumble for the whip. The horse, guessing what was required, would start again, shaking him up and down until he looked like a rag doll badly ...
— Selected Polish Tales • Various

... goose; he doesn't know how you and I sat looking at one another, and pretending to fumble, and counting out slowly, waiting sick at heart for the sack of guineas that was to come down by coach. If it had not come we should not have broken, but we should have suspended payment for twenty-four hours, and I was young enough ...
— Love Me Little, Love Me Long • Charles Reade

... realising how affectionate, how friendly and how replete with deep meaning were the sentiments that dropped from her month, when, of a sudden, he saw her seal her lips and, flashing crimson, droop her head, and simply fumble with her girdle. Yet so fascinating was she in those timid blushes, which completely baffle description, that his feelings were roused within him to such a degree, that all sense of pain flew at once beyond ...
— Hung Lou Meng, Book II • Cao Xueqin

... the Professor, beginning to fumble in all his pockets—was he searching for a note in Sylvia's handwriting?—"in that case, you will be conferring a real favour on me if you can make it convenient to attend a sale at Hammond's Auction Rooms in Covent Garden, and just bid for ...
— The Brass Bottle • F. Anstey

... saddle broke, and having no crupper, saddle and addenda went over his head, and the flour was dispersed. Next the girth of the woman's saddle broke, and she went over her horse's head. Then he began to fumble helplessly at it, railing against England the whole time, while I secured the saddle, and guided the route back to an outlet of the park. There a fire was built, and we had some bread and bacon; and then a search for water occupied nearly two hours, ...
— A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains • Isabella L. Bird

... he was bound to spot us behind it; but he opened it just enough to squeeze in, and then, feeling his way round by the wall, made straight for the letter-box. Although it was dark he seemed to know his way pretty well, and in a few seconds we heard him stop and fumble with a key in the lock. In a second or two he had opened it, and then, crouching down, began cautiously to rub a match on the floor. The light was too dim to see anything but the crouching figure of a man bending over the box and examining the ...
— Reginald Cruden - A Tale of City Life • Talbot Baines Reed

... I reckon I is. He p'omised to git me a job up hyeah, an' I got yo' lettah—" here Silas, who had set his bundle on the floor in coming into the Presence, began to fumble in his pockets for the letter. He searched long in vain, because his hands trembled, and he was nervous under the eyes of this great personage who stood unmoved and looked calmly ...
— The Strength of Gideon and Other Stories • Paul Laurence Dunbar

... ornamentation, of the balance of the architecture, he saw nothing; neither the tracery of carven column nor the aerial perspective of the groined arches. It was his genius not to see these things—to leave out the drawing is better than to fumble with it, and all his life he has done this; and though we may say that a water-colour with the drawing left out is a very slight thing, we cannot fail to perceive that these sketches, though less than sonnets or ballades, or even ...
— Modern Painting • George Moore

... fool!" shrieked a voice from below, "are your fingers ever to be thumbs, then, that you should fumble your tools so? A thousand thunders of heaven! You have ...
— The Refugees • Arthur Conan Doyle

... the physician approached her simultaneously. At the same time, the two assistants began to fumble among their hideous arsenal. ...
— Notre-Dame de Paris - The Hunchback of Notre Dame • Victor Hugo

... Then she would fumble with her foot for a stone and stoop hastily—for you are at a disadvantage with ghosts and with Toms when you stoop—and pick it up and hurl it promiscuously in the direction of the footsteps, and quaver, in a voice that ...
— A Maid of the Silver Sea • John Oxenham

... to put my hand into my pocket, and there I found the greater part of a ship's biscuit, which, as I was quitting the cabin, I had mechanically thrust into it. I almost shouted for joy as I found the prize—though it was not much to be divided among four men. The discovery made the rest fumble in their pockets. McTavish had a tobacco-box, which he had only just filled, and Jack found a huge lump of grease, which, though not very savoury, was not to be despised. How it had come there he could not ...
— Salt Water - The Sea Life and Adventures of Neil D'Arcy the Midshipman • W. H. G. Kingston

... that's William again. He doesn't waste time when he has anything to attend to, and I know exactly what he said to his mother. He will make every arrangement and fix everything for them and then tell them good-by. He isn't much with words, Billy isn't. He acts. There's no fumble in him, and even his mother, who thinks his mold was broken when he was born and that the Lord never made but one like him, has to admit he is a high-handed person when occasion requires. I don't agree with his mother ...
— Kitty Canary • Kate Langley Bosher

... fail, if we fritter and fumble away our opportunity in needless, senseless quarrels between Democrats and Republicans, or between the House and the Senate, or between the South and North, or between the Congress and the administration, then history ...
— Complete State of the Union Addresses from 1790 to the Present • Various

... saw him sitting there with his back to her, crying, she was puzzled and disturbed. As she watched, she saw him fumble for something under the quilt, then lift a shining pistol, and place the muzzle to his thin, bald temple. With a cry of terror, she dashed forward and knocked the weapon from ...
— Calvary Alley • Alice Hegan Rice

... Flaxie began to fumble with the key. Ninny smiled to hear her breathe so hard, but never thought the wee, wee fingers ...
— Lill's Travels in Santa Claus Land and other Stories • Ellis Towne, Sophie May and Ella Farman

... encouragement, the Celt moistened his dry lips, thrust out his chest, and after a momentary fumble, stuck three fingers in ...
— The Cruise of the Dry Dock • T. S. Stribling

... the bathroom and into that bath, and then she filled a sponge with cold water and trickled it on him, until he threatened to jump out and give her a cold douche. Then, panting with her exertions and dry now, she collapsed on the chair and began to fumble with her hair and its solitary rose. It was exactly Julie who sat there unashamed in her nakedness, Peter thought. She had kept the soul of a child through everything, and it could burst through the outer covering of the woman who had tasted of the tree of knowledge of good ...
— Simon Called Peter • Robert Keable

... reluctance, from a pair of violet eyes and a pair of the most mysterious gray, I began to fumble in my pockets ...
— American Adventures - A Second Trip 'Abroad at home' • Julian Street

... across the floor wavered suddenly, the door opened, was locked again, and with a quick, catlike step a man moved along the side of the wall where the shadows lay thickest near the door, dropped on his knees, and began to fumble hurriedly with the base-board of the wall, pausing at every alternate second ...
— The Further Adventures of Jimmie Dale • Frank L. Packard

... the reading of the next dispatch. "Alden's ball on a fumble. Steadily forcing Winthrop line back by superior weight. ...
— Winning His "W" - A Story of Freshman Year at College • Everett Titsworth Tomlinson

... matches. Baldwin and Crane were both on their mettle and the fielding being of the sharpest kind safe hits were few and far between. Up to the ninth inning Chicago led by two runs, but here Earle's three-bagger, Hanlon's base on balls, Burns' fumble of Brown's hit and Carroll's double settled our chances, the All-Americas winning by a score ...
— A Ball Player's Career - Being the Personal Experiences and Reminiscensces of Adrian C. Anson • Adrian C. Anson

... folks up," remarked Tom, as he tooted his horn and waved his flag, and Sam followed suit. Then the fun-loving Rover placed his horn under his arm and began to fumble at something in ...
— The Rover Boys in the Air - From College Campus to the Clouds • Edward Stratemeyer

... with the Joyces and the Gowans; and with these and other members of the general public they swept on, joining the vast throng of those who were so eager to press the great lady's Smyrna rugs with their own feet and fumble her silk hangings with their own fingers and rap her Japanese jars with their own knuckles and smell her new paintings with their own noses and see Mrs. Palmer Pence herself with their own eyes. "Gee! ain't it swell!" whispered Little O'Grady, who could make swans out of geese or geese ...
— Under the Skylights • Henry Blake Fuller

... the players' benches, where he watched the Oakdale nine at practice. At times he smiled with a supercilious air of amusement, and especially was this noticeable when Eliot complimented the players or some one made some sort of a fumble ...
— Rival Pitchers of Oakdale • Morgan Scott

... counter-revolution have the bourgeois state generally on their side and enjoy the backing of the bourgeois establishment, its organizations and its facilities. Since their object is defense, they have no constructive program. Instead they stumble, fumble and bungle as their system flounders into one disastrous crisis ...
— Civilization and Beyond - Learning From History • Scott Nearing

... young heart away. And I will kiss her in the waterfalls, And at the rainbow's end, and in the incense That curls about the feet of sleeping gods, And sing with her in canebrakes and in rice fields, In Romany, eternal Romany. We will sow secret herbs, and plant old roses, And fumble through dark, snaky palaces, Stable our ponies in the Taj Mahal, And sleep out-doors ourselves. In her strange fairy mill-wheel eyes will wait All windings and unwindings of the highways, From India, across America,— All windings and unwindings of my fancy, All windings and ...
— American Poetry, 1922 - A Miscellany • Edna St. Vincent Millay

... shall be, mayhaps, that it was by reason of this thing that the water, when I did make it, did fizz upward in a moment very loud and plentiful, and did boil overward to the earth from out of the cup, and wet upon my hand. And surely this thought did come very keen to my Reason, as I did fumble, each time of mine eating, there in the everlasting night and ...
— The Night Land • William Hope Hodgson

... wouldn't. I said things that I shouldn't have dared to say if I'd been cooler; but I'm glad I did! After a while I went back to my room, and I took out my key and hid it. I was afraid she'd lock me in. She did mean to, but for once she got fooled. I lay still as a mouse, hearing her fumble round my door. Finally she went downstairs. When I was sure she'd gone for good I took my key and stole across the hall. Sure enough, it unlocked the door, just as I hoped it would. Oh, that poor child was ...
— Polly and the Princess • Emma C. Dowd

... were, of course, crude enough. It took me a long time to put aside all affectation and make-believe, if I have ever quite succeeded in doing it, and get down to what I really saw and felt. But I think now I can tell dead wood in my writing when I see it—tell when I fumble in my mind, or when my sentences glance off and fail ...
— Our Friend John Burroughs • Clara Barrus

... his haughty glance the characteristic outlines of that catastrophe of human genius in conflict with divine chance. All the other historians suffer from being somewhat dazzled, and in this dazzled state they fumble about. It was a day of lightning brilliancy; in fact, a crumbling of the military monarchy which, to the vast stupefaction of kings, drew all the kingdoms after it—the fall of force, ...
— Les Miserables - Complete in Five Volumes • Victor Hugo

... farm-kitchen, holding the little wooden box carefully in both his dogskin-gloved hands. He crossed to the hearth, stubbing his toe against a jutting floor-brick, and as he did so he caught his breath. Then he stepped down under the yawning gape of the chimney, and seemed to grope and fumble at the back of the hearth. He raised himself then, stepped back, and called out sharply in ...
— The Dop Doctor • Clotilde Inez Mary Graves

... approval of the conduct of a little boy. Disraeli stopped dead short in his speech and one of the finest bits of comedy I can remember to have seen ensued. He closed his eyes and began very deliberately to fumble about the breast of his frock-coat within and without in search of something which he was evidently not over anxious to find. Alighting at last on the object of this perfunctory search he produced an eyeglass and, still with closed ...
— Recollections • David Christie Murray

... to the minute, he entered his lecture theatre, put his hat on the end of the table as his habit was, and carefully selected a large piece of chalk. It was a joke among his students that he could not lecture without that piece of chalk to fumble in his fingers, and once he had been stricken to impotence by their hiding his supply. He came and looked under his grey eyebrows at the rising tiers of young fresh faces, and spoke with his accustomed studied commonness of phrasing. "Circumstances have arisen—circumstances beyond ...
— Tales of Space and Time • Herbert George Wells

... them a rider appeared close to the front wheel of the buckboard. Waco shrank down in sodden terror. It was the Starr foreman, High-Chin Bob. Waco saw Pat's hand flash to his side, then fumble ...
— Jim Waring of Sonora-Town - Tang of Life • Knibbs, Henry Herbert

... opened. At first she seemed not to see the anxious countenances bent over her. Then a look of recognition crept into her face, and a wan little smile parted the lips. She lifted one hand and began to fumble feebly in the bosom of ...
— Nine Little Goslings • Susan Coolidge

... that sort of thing to the doctors, but I guess he took a hand in it himself," he muttered, continuing to fumble with the knives in the drawer. It was no time to ask questions, and I did not. Kennedy rapidly stowed away the things in his pockets. One bottle he opened and held to his nose. I could distinguish ...
— The Poisoned Pen • Arthur B. Reeve

... the hand which seemed always to fumble at her throat in moments of strain. He pulled down the black kimono and dragged her under the light, forcing her back against the white cabin. ...
— Peter the Brazen - A Mystery Story of Modern China • George F. Worts

... seemed as if the deacon must have been waiting for ten minutes at the least, and in a great flurry he began to fumble for his handkerchief. What had he done with it? Oh, there it was at last, way down in the depths of his right ...
— Good Cheer Stories Every Child Should Know • Various

... Arthurs Bosome, if euer man went to Arthurs Bosome: a made a finer end, and went away and it had beene any Christome Childe: a parted eu'n iust betweene Twelue and One, eu'n at the turning o'th' Tyde: for after I saw him fumble with the Sheets, and play with Flowers, and smile vpon his fingers end, I knew there was but one way: for his Nose was as sharpe as a Pen, and a Table of greene fields. How now Sir Iohn (quoth I?) what man? be a good cheare: so a cryed out, ...
— The First Folio [35 Plays] • William Shakespeare

... look simple enough on paper; they take no account of that "personal element" which is everything in the south, of the ruffled tempers of those gorgeous but inert creatures who, disturbed in their siestas or mandolin-strummings, may keep you waiting half a day while they fumble ominously over some dirty-looking scrap of paper. For on such occasions they are liable to provoking fits of conscientiousness. This is all very well, my dear sir, but—Ha! Where, where is that certificate of origin, that stamp, ...
— Old Calabria • Norman Douglas

... triumphant; but when the Dame caught sight of Jan's slate, without minutely examining his work, she said, "Zo thee's been scraaling on thee slate, instead of writing thee figures," and at once began to fumble beneath ...
— Jan of the Windmill • Juliana Horatia Ewing

... kept for one's friends! The tears stood in Diego's black eyes when he heard; and Diego was no weakling, but a straight-backed stoic of an Indian, who stood almost as tall as the Senor Jack himself and who could throw a full-grown steer to the ground by twisting its head. He bowed low and turned to fumble the sweet, dried grasses in Surry's manger; and beneath his coarse shirt the feel of the rawhide was sweeter than the embrace of ...
— The Gringos • B. M. Bower

... to her with an unspeakable vividness that in all probability she would pay the penalty on both sides of the grave. Awakening from one awful dream, she would, after listening to the stillness of the night for a time, lapse into another. Again she would suddenly awake and begin to fumble her rosary and repeat selections from a Catholic prayer book. Would she dare to turn back? Behind her was certain death; before her, the possibility of life. ...
— The Woman with a Stone Heart - A Romance of the Philippine War • Oscar William Coursey

... little old lady rather arduously alight, pause, and look up at his darkened windows, and after a momentary hesitation, and a word over her shoulder to the cabman, stoop and fumble at the iron latch. He watched her with a kind of wondering aversion, still scarcely tinged with curiosity. She had succeeded in lifting the latch and in pushing her way through, and was even now steadily advancing towards him along the tiled ...
— The Return • Walter de la Mare

... found him in bed in a most deplorable condition. Nevertheless, he received me with the greatest kindness, and wished to inspect the medals and the dies. He sent for spectacles and lights, but was unable to see anything clearly. Then he began to fumble with his fingers at them, and having felt them a short while, he fetched a deep sigh, and said to his attendants that he was much concerned about me, but that if God gave him back his health he ...
— The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini • Benvenuto Cellini

... moving. She looked like a wounded bird, and the man, thinking he must have hurt her in some way, followed her to pick her up and see what the trouble was. Three times he almost got her. Almost, but not quite. Crippled as she seemed, she could still fumble and flutter just out of reach; and when at last the man had followed her to a corner of the roof far from her young, Mother Nomer sprang up, and spreading her long, pointed wings, took flight, whole and sound as ...
— Bird Stories • Edith M. Patch

... with the growing day; And in the cold dawn light her hair is grey: Her lifted arms are naught but bone: her hands White withered claws that fumble as she stands Trying to pin that wisp into its place. O Philip, I must look upon her face There in the mirror. Nay, but I will rise And peep over her shoulder ... Oh, the eyes That burn out from that face of skin and bone, Searching my ...
— Georgian Poetry 1920-22 • Various

... safe and reasonable contrivance for occupying the attention of the country, and is certainly a better way of settling questions than by push of pike. Yet, if one should ask it why it should not rather be called government by gabble, it would have to fumble in its pocket a good while before it found the change for a convincing reply. As matters stand, too, it is beginning to be doubtful whether Parliament and Congress sit at Westminster and Washington or in the editors' rooms of the leading journals, so thoroughly is everything ...
— Harvard Classics Volume 28 - Essays English and American • Various

... if a Shadow, wading in the torrent Of high excitement, snatch me from the riot— (Fool that he is)—and fumble with his warrant, And hail a hearse, and beg me to ...
— Twenty • Stella Benson

... particular to whom he gave up the letters, so that he got rid of them somehow, and could set off homewards), he would say he thought that he had, for such was his invariable safe form of answer; and would fumble in breast-pockets, waistcoat-pockets, breeches-pockets, and, as a last resource, in coat-tail pockets; and at length try to comfort me, if I looked disappointed, by telling me, 'Hoo had missed this toime, but was sure to write to-morrow;' 'Hoo' ...
— Cousin Phillis • Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

... an old curio in the form of a Phoenix, I dare say the Board—' said the nice gentleman, as Robert began to fumble with his buttons. ...
— The Phoenix and the Carpet • E. Nesbit

... This is the Banto[u] San of the Shimaya of Honjo[u] Itcho[u]me. He is collecting the house bills. Deign not to disturb him."—"Shut up!" was the reply of the leader. "Another fellow of the same kidney. Look to him." Roughly he thrust his hand into Zensuke's bosom and began to hustle and fumble the clerk. When Jugoro[u] would interfere the two other men prevented him. With fright he saw the money belt of the banto[u] dangling from the man's hand. The nature of the affair was plain. ...
— The Yotsuya Kwaidan or O'Iwa Inari - Tales of the Tokugawa, Volume 1 (of 2) • James S. De Benneville

... within a couple of inches from the desk-chair, and which consisted of a trap-door, the width of a board in the flooring and the length of a man's fore-arm and no longer; a trap-door that falls back like the lid of a box; a trap-door through which I can see a hand come and dexterously fumble at the pocket of a ...
— The Phantom of the Opera • Gaston Leroux

... The Athenian began to fumble in his belt for an obol, when he was rudely distracted by a twitch upon his chiton. Turning, he was little pleased to come face to face with no less a ...
— A Victor of Salamis • William Stearns Davis

... the letter which lay on the table in front of him and unfolded it. He glanced at it and then put it down and began to fumble in his pocket. ...
— General John Regan - 1913 • George A. Birmingham

... you, little girl," he muttered, and withdrew his head and shoulders to fumble fiercely for his pipe. Courage in the woman he loves will move a man as never will her tears. There is also gratitude ...
— The Long Trick • Lewis Anselm da Costa Ritchie

... day light!" said Lisbeth, almost in a whisper. She was sitting half turned from me, her gaze fixed on the bend of the river, and by chance her restless hand had found and begun to fumble with ...
— My Lady Caprice • Jeffrey Farnol

... here gave utterance to a loud, contemptuous laugh, and began to fumble somewhat ostentatiously with ...
— Uncle Remus • Joel Chandler Harris



Words linked to "Fumble" :   foul up, foul-up, blow, mishandle, bollix up, boner, search, blooper, louse up, pass, bloomer, fail, fumbler, miscarry, bumble, botch up, spoil, baseball, ball up, mess up, flub, fuck up, go through, bollix, pratfall, look for, American football game, bodge, bobble, palm, fluff, seek, bollocks, go across



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