1. (orig. sporting) to make a blunder, to make a mess, to trip up.
|Guy Livingstone 49: I don’t see why you should have muffed that shot.|
|Tom Brown at Oxford (1880) 148: They muffed it in the Gut, eh?|
|World (N.Y.) 26 July 3/1: On Daly’s muffing Ward’s fourth strike ‘Buck’ crossed the plate.|
|Voces Populi 63: Everyone muffs it at starting.|
|Girl Proposition 28: After about two Moves she would hand him a Liner which he would Muff.|
|More Cricket Songs 35: God knows I’ve muffed some easy chances / Of doing good, like a silly lout.‘The Old Professional’ in|
|You Know Me Al (1984) 71: The eighth started with Shanks muffing a fly ball off Bodie.|
|Top-Notch 15 Dec. [Internet] He leaped for it like a greyhound after a bone, fell on his bean, rolled over in the gutter, and grinned. He muffed it by a block.‘Ten Dollars – No Sense’ in|
|Fight Stories May [Internet] You had your chance, and you sure muffed it! I licked you then, and I can lick you now.‘Fist and Fang’|
|‘Jail, Jail, the Gang’s All Here’ in 10 Detectives Aces Apr. [Internet] The only good crime story in a year and you muff it.|
|Boy’s Book of Cricket 68: He [...] muffed it because of the sun in his eyes.|
|Savage Night (1991) 143: They’d muffed their chance to catch me in the act.|
|Scene (1996) 105: Davis had told him [...] to make a buy from Bertha Travis, and he had muffed it!|
|Start in Life (1979) 235: I was being trusted with the big job, and if I muffed it William Hay would get his face bashed in.|
|Wiseguy (2001) 161: Our players had to muff enough shots to make sure that they won by less than the bookie’s ten points.|
|Evidence Exposed (1999) 113: Malcolm had worried a bit that Betsy might muff her role in the ensuing drama.‘I, Richard’|
|Indep. Rev. 25 Feb. 14: Not knowing the jazz progressions / He muffed the middle eight.|
|Eve. Standard 13 Apr. 32/1: I totally muffed it.|
2. to fail an examination.
|F&H].in Longman’s Mag. III 617: Freddy and Tommy and Dicky have all muffed for the army. It’s really dreadful! [|
3. of a bill, to suffer a default.
|Top-Notch 15 Apr. [Internet] He’ll get paid just as soon as some of those dyspeptic editors slip me some coin. It won’t be the first bill he’s muffed.‘Nearly Over’ in|
spoilt, bungled, failed.
|Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl.|
clumsiness, clumsy failure.
|DSUE (1984) 764: [...] from ca. 1860.|
|(con. 1840s–50s) London Labour and London Poor III 54/1: You can pick out a good many Punch performers, without getting one so well versed as I am in it; they in general makes such a muffing concern of it.|
|DSUE (1984) 764: [...] from ca. 1840.|
|Every Night Book 84: When one of the fancy dies, the survivors say, that he has [...] ‘mizzled’ — ‘morrised’ or ‘muffed it’!|