Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
May 28th, 2016
Episode 538 of 718 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 28, 2016 is: foozle \FOO-zul\ verb : to manage or play awkwardly : bungle Examples: After the receiver foozled the catch, the kicking team recovered the ball at the opponent's 10-yard line. "He foozled a short putt on the 72nd green at Southern Hills in Tulsa that would've won him the 2001 Open, then played solidly in a Monday playoff and defeated Mark Brooks for the title." — Gary Van Sickle, Golf.com, 30 July 2015 Did you know? Foozle dates only to the late 19th century, but its origins are obscure. The German dialect verb fuseln ("to work carelessly") could figure in its history, but that speculation has never been proven. Not particularly common today, foozle still holds a special place in the hearts, minds, and vocabularies of many golfers. In golf, to foozle a shot is to bungle it and a foozle is a bungled shot. In a Century magazine piece from 1899 called "Two Players and their Play," Beatrice Hanscom reveals more of golf's specialized vocabulary: She tops her ball; then divots fly; / In bunkers long she stays; / She foozles all along the course / In most astounding ways: / In sooth, it is an eery thing / The way Priscilla plays.