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Fumble   /fˈəmbəl/   Listen
Fumble

verb
(past & past part. fumbled; pres. part. fumbling)
1.
Feel about uncertainly or blindly.  Synonym: grope.
2.
Make one's way clumsily or blindly.  Synonym: blunder.
3.
Handle clumsily.
4.
Make a mess of, destroy or ruin.  Synonyms: ball up, blow, bobble, bodge, bollix, bollix up, bollocks, bollocks up, botch, botch up, bumble, bungle, flub, fluff, foul up, fuck up, louse up, mess up, mishandle, muck up, muff, screw up, spoil.  "The pianist screwed up the difficult passage in the second movement"
5.
Drop or juggle or fail to play cleanly a grounder.



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"Fumble" Quotes from Famous Books



... 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 old ...
— Ballads of a Bohemian • Robert W. Service

... 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, ...
— Gulliver of Mars • Edwin L. Arnold

... 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 ...
— When the Sleepers Woke • Arthur Leo Zagat

... in the locker there," and the captain turned around, and began to fumble with his hands for the latch of the little door. "Ye'd better strip ...
— Rod of the Lone Patrol • H. A. Cody

... enough, was the oak itself. Kneeling down, he 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

... 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

... She took my stupid fumble very nicely, laughing merrily while saying, "If you like mountains and moonlight, Mr. Gordon, and don't mind the lack of a chaperon, get a stool for yourself, too." What was more, she offered me half of the lap-robe when ...
— Master Tales of Mystery, Volume 3 • Collected and Arranged by Francis J. Reynolds

... could make or wait for it; and it was big and real. Other men crowed or fumbled after petty and pinch-beck ends; impossible rhetorical republicanisms; vain senatorial prestiges; —or pleasure pure and simple—say rather, very complex and impure. Let them clack, let them fumble! Caesar would do things and get things done. He wore the whole armor of his greatness, and could see no chink or joint in it through which a hostile dagger might pierce. Even his military victories were won by some greater than mere military greatness.—Karma, ...
— The Crest-Wave of Evolution • Kenneth Morris

... only one hindrance—that I seemed not to know any of the people this brilliant couple had known. I think he wondered extremely, during the term of our intercourse, whom the deuce I DID know. He hadn't a stray sixpence of an idea to fumble for, so we didn't spin it very fine; we confined ourselves to questions of leather and even of liquor- saddlers and breeches-makers and how to get excellent claret cheap- -and matters like "good trains" and the habits of small ...
— Some Short Stories • Henry James

... full back at every point in the Tiger's line for short gains, and showing no preference. But, all said, it was slow work and unpromising with the score board announcing five minutes to play. The Yale supporters, however, found cause for rejoicing, and cheered gloriously until there was a fumble and the Blue lost four yards on the recovery. Time was called and the trainers and water carriers trotted on the field. The head coach and an assistant came toward the bench, talking earnestly, the ...
— The New Boy at Hilltop • Ralph Henry Barbour

... 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

... apprehension, her fingers shaking so that it was with great difficulty that she managed the bag's clasp, she opened the receptacle, and, with accelerating nervousness which made her feel and fumble, took from it a small box—a jeweler's box. Slowly she returned to him, her feet dragging as if weighted; slowly, as she stood before him, drooping, frightened, she took off the cover of the little box, her heart hammering till it seemed as if it must burst ...
— The Old Flute-Player - A Romance of To-day • Edward Marshall and Charles T. Dazey

... 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 ...
— General John Regan - 1913 • George A. Birmingham

... a pale, plain child, with sharp, intelligent eyes, and a busy little mind, that did a good deal more thinking than anybody imagined. She was just at the unattractive, fidgety age when no one knew what to do with her, and so let her fumble her way up as she could, finding pleasure in odd things, and living much alone, for she did not go to school, because her shoulders were growing round, and Mrs. Shaw would not "allow her figure to be spoiled." ...
— An Old-fashioned Girl • Louisa May Alcott

... a happy one—but it seemed, somehow, to illumine the office. Maxwell reflected irritably that there was something unusually likable about the fellow, but he wished he'd hurry up and get out. From force of habit his fingers grasped a blue pencil on his desk, and he began to fumble nervously among the manuscripts that lay before him. Harrington settled back more firmly in his chair, and the swinging of his torn boot was accelerated a trifle, but his voice when he spoke was full of ...
— Many Kingdoms • Elizabeth Jordan

... night, when it ought, by every suggestion of its dusty past, to have been left to the vengeful ghosts, the greater part of whose hopes and passions were recorded and gathered there; when in the dark the dead hands of forgotten men were stretched from their dusty graves to fumble once more for their old title deeds; at night, when it was lit up by flaring gaslight, the hollow mockery of this dissipation was so apparent that people in the streets, looking through the illuminated windows, felt as if the privacy of a family ...
— The Story of a Mine • Bret Harte

... Bah! that's his old trick. At the ball he will frown, And fumble the bat as though funk, or don't care, Filled his soul; but when slogging's the game he's all there. Mere posing, not playing the game,—yet he scores! I wonder how WILL likes the ring's frantic roars At their ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 102, June 11, 1892 • Various

... Endymion! The dim rich depths of the dark forests are stirred by it, and its murmurs die away, over the wailing spaces of the marshes. Obscure growths, and drowsy weeds overhanging moon-lit paths, where fungoid things fumble for light and air, hear that cry in their voluptuous dreams and move uneasily. The dumb vegetable expectancy of young tree-trunks is roused by it into sensual terror. For this is the sound of the hoof of Pan, stamping on the moist earth, ...
— Visions and Revisions - A Book of Literary Devotions • John Cowper Powys

... But he had given over the chase as a hopeless business. And Peggy Sullivan, the old dame of all work, when, by chance, for she never willingly looked toward the haunted quarter, she caught the faint reflection of its dull effulgence with the corner of her eye, would sign herself with the cross or fumble at her beads, and deeper furrows would gather in her forehead, and her face grow ashen and perturbed. And this was not mended by the levity with which the young ladies, with whom the spectre had lost his influence, familiarity, as usual, breeding ...
— J. S. Le Fanu's Ghostly Tales, Volume 2 • Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

... 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 ...
— Old Calabria • Norman Douglas

... and the corporal, laying aside his rifle, began to fumble in the bushy hair of his comrade. He was obliged to turn the other's head so that the full flush of the fire light would beam upon it. He puckered his mouth with a critical air. He drew back his lips and whistled through his teeth when his fingers came in contact ...
— The Red Badge of Courage - An Episode of the American Civil War • Stephen Crane

... hint for haste was utterly wasted upon Old Jerry. The latter failed completely to note the strained intensity of the face that was upturned before him and went on grumbling as he leaned over to fumble in the box beneath the seat. And the tirade continued in an unbroken, half-muffled stream until he straightened laboriously again, the boy's usual weekly packet of papers ...
— Once to Every Man • Larry Evans

... direction of his home. Mr. Knight, half fainting as he was, submitted without a word until his door was reached; then, there being no response to his companion's vigorous ring, he murmured something about the servants having gone, and began to fumble in his pocket. ...
— The Little Red Chimney - Being the Love Story of a Candy Man • Mary Finley Leonard

... 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 ...
— Courts and Criminals • Arthur Train

... 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 whirled his weapon over his head and danced about the road ...
— The Cloister and the Hearth • Charles Reade

... had never happened before, and how it happened this time I am at a loss to understand: but when Sara entered the Garden on this particular morning her eyes were full of tears. She had to fumble blindly around for her dimples, and when she did find them they were buried quite deep in her little wet cheeks. She would have strayed right on into the Garden without removing them, except that as soon as she saw the Snimmy's ...
— The Garden of the Plynck • Karle Wilson Baker

... than Madame ALBU as Arline. So "Arl in to begin!" and see and hear BALFE'S pretty little Girl of Bohemia while she is still visible and audible at Drury Lane. Mr. EADIE a trifle gawky as Thaddeus, but then he finds himself in an awkward situation, especially when he has to fumble for the documentary evidence of his birth, attested at a Bohemian Registry Office. CARL ARMBRUSTER conducted this, and then up got Herr FELD "with his little lot," represented by the unrivalled and unequalled Cavalleria Rusticana. Ah! Cavalleria is a treat, even when its performance is ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 104, April 15, 1893 • Various

... the groceryman to the bad boy, as he came limping into the store, and began to fumble around a box of strawberries. "I have never kicked at your eating my codfish, and crackers and cheese, and herring, and apples, but there has got to be a dividing line somewhere, and I make it at strawberries at ...
— The Grocery Man And Peck's Bad Boy - Peck's Bad Boy and His Pa, No. 2 - 1883 • George W. Peck

... about him, he crossed to the open coffin and began to fumble amongst the putrefying mass of bones and webbing which lay therein. Out from this he presently drew ...
— Tales of Chinatown • Sax Rohmer

... pattern. Behind the britchka stood a second, but an empty, turn-out, drawn by four long-coated steeds in ragged collars and rope harnesses. The flaxen-haired man lost no time in ascending the staircase, while his darker friend remained below to fumble at something in the britchka, talking, as he did so, to the driver of the vehicle which stood hitched behind. Somehow, the dark-haired man's voice struck Chichikov as familiar; and as he was taking another look at him the flaxen-haired gentleman entered the room. The newcomer ...
— Dead Souls • Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol

... girl fumble with the door on her side, open it, and stagger out of his sight. Then she reappeared round the car. Bareheaded, disheveled, white as chalk, with burning eyes and bleeding lips, she gazed at Kurt as if to make sure ...
— The Desert of Wheat • Zane Grey

... 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

... had been designed and created for the work. He hanged villainous men singly, sometimes by pairs, and rarely in groups of threes, always without a fumble or a hitch. Once, on a single morning, he hanged an even half-dozen, these being the chief fruitage of a busy term of the Federal court down in the Indian country where the combination of a crowded docket, an energetic young district attorney with political ...
— From Place to Place • Irvin S. Cobb

... my nerves were in when I hit this planet. I'm finally forced to admit that everything you said about Pyrrus is true. It is the most deadly spot in the system. And only native-born Pyrrans could possibly survive here. I can manage to fumble along a bit after my training, but I know I would never stand a chance on my own. You probably know I have an eight-year-old as a bodyguard. Gives a good idea of my real ...
— Deathworld • Harry Harrison

... replied, beginning to fumble in his skirts; "London agrees with her remarkably, and she is better than she has been for years. And she is overjoyed at your most wonderful escape, Richard, as are ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... the track 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 ...
— Unhappy Far-Off Things • Lord Dunsany

... whimper. "I—I do not know; unless some one has stolen my key." She put a hand down to fumble in ...
— Sir John Constantine • Prosper Paleologus Constantine

... Professor Brainey, or whatever name I might choose, and wait for my first customer. My first customer is a middle-aged man. I look at him,—ask him a question or two, so as to hear him talk. When I have got the hang of him, I ask him to sit down, and proceed to fumble his skull, dictating as follows: ...
— The Professor at the Breakfast Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes (Sr.)

... madame! only think!" 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 me, while his face became quite livid; ...
— Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 3, July, 1851 • Various

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

... visitor utter an exclamation of annoyance, and fumble in his pocket for matches. He recognised the voice. It was Mr Seymour's. The fact was that Mr Seymour had had the same experience as General Stanley ...
— The Gold Bat • P. G. Wodehouse

... 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 ...
— Simon Called Peter • Robert Keable

... and hunger and fear, and from all the tragic greatness of uncontrollable fate and we, we've got nothing to replace them. We are comic—comic! Ours is the stage of comedy in life's history, half lit and blinded,—and we fumble. As absurd as a kitten with its poor little head in a bag. There's your soul of man! Mewing. We're all at it, the poets, the teachers. How can anyone hope to escape? Why should I escape? What am I ...
— The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman • H. G. (Herbert George) Wells

... 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 ...
— Selected Polish Tales • Various

... 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 will rightfully judge us harshly. But if we ...
— Complete State of the Union Addresses from 1790 to the Present • Various

... He began to fumble with the knots of my bonds too hastily and impatiently for effectiveness. I was trying to stoop over far enough to see what he was doing when my eye caught the shadow of a moving figure outside. An instant later Tim ...
— The Killer • Stewart Edward White

... sake, let's 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

... from me. But if I stopped the poor man, and sympathetically questioned him about his former and his present life, I felt that it was no longer possible to give three or twenty kopeks, and I began to fumble in my purse for money, in doubt as to how much I ought to give, and I always gave more; and I always noticed that the poor man left me dissatisfied. But if I entered into still closer intercourse with the poor man, then my doubts as to how much to give increased also; and, no matter ...
— What To Do? - thoughts evoked by the census of Moscow • Count Lyof N. Tolstoi

... went to his waistcoat, hanging where it always hung at night—on a hook beside the closet door. He watched her fumble through the pockets, watched her take her spectacles from the corner of the mantel and put them on, the bridge well down toward the end of her nose. A not at all romantic figure she made, standing beside the sputtering gas jet, ...
— The Second Generation • David Graham Phillips

... that?" interrupted Jimmy, rising and picking up a cigarette, so as to have something to fumble at with his fingers. "Whose fault is it, Lily, if not that ... well, if not Trampy's? Isn't it fair that he should pay for it? It would really become too easy, else, to steal other people's ideas! You ...
— The Bill-Toppers • Andre Castaigne

... 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.' Ah! I thought so. Plain as the nose on your face," she added, producing from her porte-monnaie a newspaper ...
— A Romantic Young Lady • Robert Grant

... throat and is waiting for the end. But he seems very weak himself. As I shout down the hole to encourage him, the coon, with one final effort, wrests himself free from the dog and comes scuttling out of the hole. With undignified haste I back away from the outlet and fumble a blunt arrow on the string, and I am just in time, for here comes one of the maddest and one of the sickest coons I ever saw. With a hasty shot back of the ear, I bowl him over and put him out of his misery. Turning him over with my foot to make ...
— Hunting with the Bow and Arrow • Saxton Pope

... tiger-cat screams now, that whined before, That pried and tried and trod so gingerly, Till in its silkiness the trap-teeth join; Then you know how the bristling fury foams. They listen, this wrapped in his folds of red, While his feet fumble for the filth below; The other, as beseems a stouter heart, Working his best with beads and cross to ban The enemy that come in like a flood Spite of the standard set up, verily And in no trope at all, against him there: For at the prison-gate, just a few steps ...
— An Introduction to the Study of Browning • Arthur Symons

... cigarette and began to fumble for another. He was beginning to feel the first twinges of panic, and fought them down. Ribiera had not lied. Bell had been at this fazenda of his—which was almost a miniature Versailles three hundred miles from Rio—for two days. In all that time he had ...
— Astounding Stories of Super-Science, May, 1930 • Various

... science of skill, she can easily and at any time outdistance the most brilliant high-school graduate, for skill is her education, and she handles, and fingers, and computes sometimes many thousands of delicate threads, or intricate bits of metal, the slightest fumble of which might throw out of gear a powerful machine. This is applied mathematics, is it not? She uses no pencil nor paper, but counts by allowing one line to overlap another at every five hundred cards, done in some fine print work, and when ten five hundred cards show ...
— The Girl Scout Pioneers - or Winning the First B. C. • Lillian C Garis

... sore, physically and mentally. He had been roughly used by two of the Roxley players, and had made a fumble at a critical moment. And all during that heartrending first half Dora had not noticed ...
— The Rover Boys at College • Edward Stratemeyer

... replied Gaston. He felt in his own pockets, however, first for a cigarette and then for a match. He was indeed tired, so tired that he no longer remembered which pocket to fumble in or what he held in his hand as he fumbled. Ah, that sacred tank! Then he suddenly smiled again, looking at Magin. "There is something else I ...
— The Best Short Stories of 1917 - and the Yearbook of the American Short Story • Various

... to set off my black hair; 105 In I shall march—for you may watch your life out Behind thick walls, make friends there to betray you; More than one man spoils everything. March straight— Only, no clumsy knife to fumble for. Take the great gate, and walk (not saunter) on 110 Through guards and guards—I have rehearsed it all Inside the turret here a hundred times Don't ask the way of whom you meet, observe! But where they cluster thickliest is the door Of doors; they'll ...
— Selections from the Poems and Plays of Robert Browning • Robert Browning

... imagination; and, as compared with instinct, it is a power which acts in clearly denned, isolated, intermittent movements, each one of which has a definite beginning and a definite end. As compared with imagination, intuition is passive and receptive; as compared with instinct it does not fumble and grope forward, steadily and tenaciously, among the roots of things; but it suspends itself, mirror-like, upon the surface of the unfathomable waters, and suspended there reflects in swift sudden glimpses the mysterious movements of the great deep. In this process of reflecting, ...
— The Complex Vision • John Cowper Powys

... 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 ...
— American Poetry, 1922 - A Miscellany • Edna St. Vincent Millay

... fumble among the things upon her dressing-table for the little bottle that contained her ...
— Brooke's Daughter - A Novel • Adeline Sergeant

... over. For a moment later Captain Bunker began to fumble in his waistcoat pocket with the one hand that was not clasping his wife's waist. "One thing more, Mollie; when I left her and refused to take any of her dimons, she put a queer sort o' ring into my hand, and told me with a kind o' mischievious, bedevilin' smile, that I must keep it to remember ...
— Sally Dows and Other Stories • Bret Harte

... 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

... believe much unreason and a little truth than to deny for denial's sake truth and unreason alike, for when we do this we have not even a rush candle to guide our steps, not even a poor sowlth to dance before us on the marsh, and must needs fumble our way into the great emptiness where dwell the mis-shapen dhouls. And after all, can we come to so great evil if we keep a little fire on our hearths and in our souls, and welcome with open hand whatever of excellent ...
— The Celtic Twilight • W. B. Yeats

... the mantelpiece and began to fumble for the switch; in the silence his nails scratching at the panelling made a sound like to that of a gnawing mouse. He found it at last, and next instant the office broke into a blaze of light, showing Mr. Haswell, his ...
— The Yellow God - An Idol of Africa • H. Rider Haggard

... in front of the parapet. A splinter from one lifted a man's cap from his head and sent it flying. The splinter's whirr and the man's sharp exclamation brought all eyes in his direction. His look of comical surprise and the half-dazed fashion of his lifting a hand to fumble cautiously at his head raised some laughter and a ...
— Action Front • Boyd Cable (Ernest Andrew Ewart)

... Meat, I shall not confine your Love to a Quantity, only give him a little at once, as long as his Appetite is Good: When he begins to fumble and play with his Meat, hold your hand, shut up ...
— The School of Recreation (1696 edition) • Robert Howlett

... showed plainly, for she was 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 ...
— Bird Stories • Edith M. Patch

... just struck one, when she heard the click of the gate. Slowly, heavily, ominously, she heard him come up the steps and fumble with his key at the door. He entered the bedroom, and she heard him sigh as he sat down. She remained quiet, for she had learned the hypersensitiveness induced by drink and was fastidiously careful not to hurt him even with the knowledge that she had lain awake for him. It was not easy. Her hands ...
— The Valley of the Moon • Jack London

... Arthur's bosom,[18] if ever man went to Arthur's bosom. 'A made a finer end,[19] and went away, an it had been any christom child;[20] 'a parted even just between twelve and one, e'en at turning o' the tide:[21] for after I saw him fumble with the sheets,[22] and play with flowers, and smile upon his fingers' ends, I knew there was but one way; for his nose was as sharp as a pen, and a' babbled of green fields. How now, Sir John! quoth I: what, man! be of good cheer. So a' cried out—Heaven, Heaven, Heaven! three or four ...
— King Henry the Fifth - Arranged for Representation at the Princess's Theatre • William Shakespeare

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

... City Council engrossed on parchment, with a broad ribbon and large seal attached. After the mayor had fulfilled his office so well, General Grant said: "Mr. Mayor, as I knew that this ceremony was to occur, and as I am not used to speaking, I have written something in reply." He then began to fumble in his pockets, first his breast-coat pocket, then his pants, vest; etc., and after considerable delay he pulled out a crumpled piece of common yellow cartridge-paper, which he handed to the mayor. His whole manner ...
— The Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman, Complete • William T. Sherman

... Dale was standing against the door on the outside. His position was perfectly natural—a hundred passers-by would have noted nothing but a most commonplace occurrence—a man in the act of entering a store. And, if he appeared to fumble and have trouble with the latch, what of it! Jimmie Dale, however, was not fumbling—hidden by his back that was turned to the street, those wonderful fingers of his, in whose tips seemed embodied and concentrated ...
— The Adventures of Jimmie Dale • Frank L. Packard

... said to break the situation—I think I said, 'It's you, Edmund?' I remember he fumbled with a sheet of music, and kept his eyes bent on it, and muttered something inarticulate. Then there was another speechless, helpless suspension. He continued to fumble his music without looking up. At last I remember saying, through a sort of sickness and giddiness, 'Let us get out of ...
— Grey Roses • Henry Harland

... he sits in it. Another never allows a visitor to enter his office, but goes to the outer reception room and stands while he talks. One man stands up as a signal that the interview is at an end. Another begins to fumble with the papers on his desk, and the salesman does not live who is not familiar with the man who must hurry out to lunch or who has only five minutes to catch a train. One man has his secretary or his office boy interrupt him after a visitor has been in as much ...
— The Book of Business Etiquette • Nella Henney

... a certain childishness, in which they are more primitive than our more civilised peasants. But the speech comes from deeper than they are aware, it stumbles into a revelation of the soul. A drunken man in Tolstoi has more wisdom in his cups than all Ibsen's strange ladies who fumble ...
— Plays, Acting and Music - A Book Of Theory • Arthur Symons

... myself Of a starfish laid out with rigid points." "The wonder is it hadn't been your head." "It's hard to tell you how I managed it. When I saw the shaft had me by the coat, I didn't try too long to pull away, Or fumble for my knife to cut away, I just embraced the shaft and rode it out— Till Weiss shut off the water in the wheel-pit. That's how I think I didn't lose my head. But my legs got their knocks against the ceiling." "Awful. Why ...
— North of Boston • Robert Frost

... a Camanche drops his arms and flies to the farther end of the hall, only to fumble unavailingly at the fastenings of the iron door, while a victorious Digger belabors him with the weapon he has just ...
— St. Nicholas, Vol. 5, No. 4, February 1878 • Various

... but got up with a stumble, His rider went sideways, but knew how to tumble, And got up and remounted, though the pain made him humble, And he rode fifty yards and then stopped in a fumble. ...
— Right Royal • John Masefield

... 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 ...
— The Brass Bottle • F. Anstey

... 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 ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - St. Matthew Chaps. IX to XXVIII • Alexander Maclaren

... visitor fumble with nerveless fingers, at his tightly buttoned cut-away coat. It resisted his efforts. Suddenly, with a snarl of exasperation, he dragged violently at the lapel, tearing the button outright from the ...
— Average Jones • Samuel Hopkins Adams

... 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 ...
— The Mucker • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... moments of strong feeling could not strike out a poetical thought, and afterwards polish it so as to be presentable. But men of sense know better than so to waste their time; and those who sincerely love poetry, know the touch of the master's hand on the chords too well to fumble among them after him. Nay, more than this, all inferior poetry is an injury to the good, inasmuch as it takes away the freshness of rhymes, blunders upon and gives a wretched commonalty to good thoughts; and, in general, adds to the weight ...
— Selections From the Works of John Ruskin • John Ruskin

... indisposition of matter. Whereas an omnipotent moving power, as it could dispatch its work in a moment, so would it always do it infallibly and irresistibly, no ineptitude and stubbornness of matter being ever able to hinder such a one, or make him bungle or fumble in anything. ...
— A Series of Lessons in Gnani Yoga • Yogi Ramacharaka

... not left the sender's chair, not even while the door was under attack. Only a carrier beam connected the Sword with the Altair. She continued doggedly to fumble with dials and switches, trying to modulate it and raise ...
— Industrial Revolution • Poul William Anderson

... alone," she said. "Come with me. Show me my way—I will pay—I will pay anything in reason." Actually I saw her fumble at her purse, and the hot ...
— 54-40 or Fight • Emerson Hough

... the series. Murray was given a base on balls, but Merkle flied to short. In the second inning the Bostons started as bravely as they had in the first, as Gardner, the first batter, was safe on Fletcher's fumble. Stahl batted to Tesreau and Gardner was forced out. Wagner was given a base on balls, after Stahl had been thrown out trying to steal second, and Cady ...
— Spalding's Official Baseball Guide - 1913 • John B. Foster

... to fumble in his pocket, but Hawkes checked him with a wave of his hand. "Never mind. I'll write it off to profit and loss. What's your name, spacer, and what brings you to ...
— Starman's Quest • Robert Silverberg

... generally reached in cricket 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 ...
— A Ball Player's Career - Being the Personal Experiences and Reminiscensces of Adrian C. Anson • Adrian C. Anson

... that woman with a basket of vegetables we saw at the market the other day," said Polly, as he opened the portfolio. "Do tell me, Jasper, you did bring that, didn't you?" beginning to fumble ...
— Five Little Peppers Abroad • Margaret Sidney

... world, seeing that they pursue a system diametrically opposite? For example, when they attempt to speak Spanish, the most sonorous tongue in existence, they scarcely open their lips, and putting their hands in their pockets, fumble lazily, instead of applying them to the indispensable office of gesticulation. Well may the poor Spaniards exclaim, THESE ENGLISH TALK SO CRABBEDLY, THAT SATAN HIMSELF WOULD NOT ...
— The Bible in Spain • George Borrow

... big fjord, black and gray, Breaks us our way; Waterfalls rushing on both sides rumble. Sponge-wet and slow, Cloud-masses over the mountain-flanks fumble; The sun and mist, lo, Symbol of ...
— Poems and Songs • Bjornstjerne Bjornson

... It seems stupid Beyond all expression to have a "possession" whose "ownness" there's desperate doubt of, And which (if she's nous) you can't keep in your house, nor yet (if she's "savvy") keep out of! What is "Hymen's halter"? I fidget and falter! The Beaks seem to palter and fumble. In such a strange fashion, I fly in a passion, and vow that the world is a jumble. Law seems a wigged noodle, as tame as a poodle, the whole darned caboodle (as 'ARRY sees) Is ructions and "rot," and our "rulers" ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 100, May 23, 1891 • Various

... eyes 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 ...
— Nine Little Goslings • Susan Coolidge

... are on the prowl, Swift fly the steeds along the even green, Bored by the bloody spur, and quickly seen The champion full in front, and as he goes He wins by half a head, or half a nose; Then betting fair ones fumble for their purse, Eager the trifling wager to disburse. Alas! they've nothing hanging by their side, Save but the string by which the bag was tied, For through the silken dress a gash is seen, Where the pick-pocket's impious knife ...
— Fragments of Two Centuries - Glimpses of Country Life when George III. was King • Alfred Kingston

... was conscious of the concentrated stare of sixty eyes as he slid onto the stool in front of his desk and began to fumble with the pens and blotters. The man at his left elbow said "well, well!" and the man at his right elbow said "st! st! st!" with his tongue in a most reproachful manner. They could understand Mr. Bingle's absence for three whole days, having got wind of a death in the ...
— Mr. Bingle • George Barr McCutcheon

... did not hear it. But he caught the great black initials, "E.W." on the kit-bag as the porter staggered along, and stopped the aimless man, and the kit-bag was thrown into the apartment. Doors were now banging. Christine saw Edgar take out his purse and fumble at it. But Edgar's companion pushed Edgar into the train and himself gave a tip which caused the porter to salute extravagantly. The porter, at any rate, had been rewarded. Christine began to cry, not from chagrin, ...
— The Pretty Lady • Arnold E. Bennett

... an exclamation uttered as though the words had affrighted her. Whereafter, with quivering lips, she began hesitantly and uncertainly to fumble in her bodice. ...
— Through Russia • Maxim Gorky

... 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 ...
— The Sea-Wolf • Jack London

... on over his head, and commenced his afternoon work; then there came up the hill the sound of the school-bell, but Tip took no notice of that; he didn't want to think of school, much less even go. He began to fumble presently for his Bible,—he must have some help. It opened of itself at the Psalms, and he read the first line which he saw: "Unto Thee, O God, do we give thanks "—No, not that, and he turned back a couple of leaves. "Make a joyful noise "—No, no! he didn't want ...
— Tip Lewis and His Lamp • Pansy (aka Isabella Alden)

... glanced at the paragraph so eagerly that Philippa looked at him in surprise. She was still more surprised to see a deep flush spread over his face, as he tore the newspaper off the shoes and glanced at the date. Then he dropped it on the bed and began to fumble for something in the bottom of his trunk, saying, carelessly, "Oh, green goods men are just fellows who rope people in to buy counterfeit money. Here, Mack, you'll not have a chance to run many more ...
— Flip's "Islands of Providence" • Annie Fellows Johnston

... destinies, and helped to stuff the old-fashioned vault with wads of gilt-edged securities—millions in value if you did but know it—and making it what it is to-day. If you don't believe the first part of my statement, you've only to fumble among the heap of dusty ledgers piled on top of the dusty shelves; and if you doubt the latter part, then try to buy some of the stock and see what you have to pay for it. Although the gas was turned off in the directors' ...
— Peter - A Novel of Which He is Not the Hero • F. Hopkinson Smith

... through for a dozen yards. And so it went until the second found itself only a few yards from its goal line. There, with the backs pressed close against the forwards, the second held and secured the ball on downs, only to lose it again by a fumble on the part of Post. Then a delayed pass gained two yards for the first and a mass at left tackle found another. But the next play resulted disastrously, for when the ball was passed back there was no one to take it, and the quarter ...
— The Half-Back • Ralph Henry Barbour

... whole of their very beautiful theory rests upon the very disputed passage in question. At an earlier period apparently, his mind did wander; when, as Mrs. Quickly says, he was "rheumatick," meaning doubtless lunatic, that is, delirious; and then he talked of other things. When he began to "fumble with the sheets, and play with flowers, and smile upon his fingers' ends," though for a moment he might have fancied himself even "in his mother's lap," or anything else, he was clearly past all "babbling." In saying this, I treat Falstaff as a human being who ...
— Notes and Queries, No. 209, October 29 1853 • Various

... moulding a visage whereon the words 'treachery, avarice, theft, and murder' are printed in large capitals. You may possibly have been born simply ugly, but your present hang-dog cast of countenance is entirely your own handiwork, my good friend Guiseppe. Now pray do not fumble at your knife again, that is an excessively bad habit which you have contracted; take my advice and break it off. If you do not, it will assuredly get you ...
— Under the Meteor Flag - Log of a Midshipman during the French Revolutionary War • Harry Collingwood

... 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 belied its message, "Go away, Tom Hamon! I can see you,"—which was ...
— A Maid of the Silver Sea • John Oxenham

... 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 to ...
— The Further Adventures of Jimmie Dale • Frank L. Packard

... urgent claim beyond the fact that she was now her only one. Aunt Emily's clear vision might, indeed, be said to have found the way through a tangle of poignant conditions in which her own poor heart had been able to do nothing but fumble helplessly. ...
— The Letter of the Contract • Basil King

... ones, that can be treated each year? Tough, independent Senator Dan Fowler fights a one-man battle against the clique that seeks perpetual power and perpetual youth, in this hard-hitting novel by Alan E. Nourse. Why did it have to be his personal fight? The others fumble it—they'd foul it up, Fowler protested? But why was he in the fight and what was to happen to Senator Fowler's fight against this fantastic conspiracy? Who ...
— Martyr • Alan Edward Nourse

... till at last a weather-beaten New England skipper, in a pea-jacket, stumped him by exclaiming, "Darned if I don't bet you! But stop; let me see if all's right." Then taking up and inspecting it, as if to see that there was no deception in it, he returned it to the table, and began to fumble about in a side pocket, first taking out a jack-knife, then a twist of tobacco, &c., till he produced a roll of bank notes, from which he took one of $10 and handed it to a by-stander; the gambler did the same, and ...
— The Book of Anecdotes and Budget of Fun; • Various

... returned Shocker, smoothly. "Here you are. It's dark, isn't it? I'll light the gas," and he commenced to fumble in his pocket, as if hunting for ...
— Dave Porter at Star Ranch - Or, The Cowboy's Secret • Edward Stratemeyer

... 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

... a greedy girl! Now get your mind all made up. This is your chance. You know you're supposed t' take a slant at th' things an' make up your mind w'at you want before you go back w'ere th' tables are. Don't fumble this thing. When Olga or Minna comes waddlin' up t' you an' says: 'Nu, Fraulein?' you gotta tell her whether your heart says plum-kuchen oder Nusstorte, or both, see? Just like that. Now make up your mind. I'd hate t' have you blunder. Have ...
— Dawn O'Hara, The Girl Who Laughed • Edna Ferber

... noble authors as remainder 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 Mr. Dobson ...
— Prose Fancies • Richard Le Gallienne

... and continued to fumble among the clothing it contained. All at once he called out and raised his hand. On the forefinger ...
— The Abandoned Room • Wadsworth Camp

... very much out of the common. Because for six months no friend or relation had called to see them, that was no reason why one never should. In the fog, a stranger may have thought it simpler to knock at the door with his stick than to fumble in search of a bell. The Hepworths lived chiefly in the room at the back. The light in the drawing-room may have been switched off for economy's sake. Jetson recounted the incident on reaching home, not as anything remarkable, but just as one mentions an item of gossip. The only one who appears ...
— Malvina of Brittany • Jerome K. Jerome

... guilty boy it 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



Words linked to "Fumble" :   palm, seek, boner, bodge, blooper, flub, go across, go wrong, fail, miscarry, pass, boo-boo, fuckup, American football, look for, foul-up, pratfall, baseball game, bloomer, search, bumble, fumbler, baseball, American football game, go through, handle, play, bobble



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