1 : to struggle to move or obtain footing : thrash about wildly
2 : to proceed or act clumsily or ineffectually
As much as I have tried, I cannot seem to locate a connection between the verb and noun forms of the word FLOUNDER. I have to admit, I always thought the verb derived from the image of a fish out of water, flopping around desperately on the deck of a boat. That is a fair assumption. The etymology suggests, however, that FLOUNDER comes from the verb founder—to fall or sink, to utterly fail, to stumble or break down. No source seems to be sure of when and where that "L" made its first appearance, but there it is.
While FLOUNDER refers more to physical stumbling, I find myself FLOUNDERING words more than anything (although I have trouble balancing on my right foot for some reason). As I write more often, better, and with greater ease, my verbal skills seem to be slipping. I am less articulate than I would like in conversation, tripping over my words, having trouble accessing my vocabulary bank, sometimes even gross mispronunciation (most often after a beer or two). This is nothing less than embarrassing, and I grow more and more frustrated with my inabilities as they make themselves ever present in my daily speech. Mayhap I should quit speaking and begin a life of solely written communications. Or I could move somewhere where I am utterly unknown, lie about being a mute, and carry around a small chalkboard on which I scribble daily formalities. Just a thought.