founder 2[foun-der] SynonymsExamplesWord Origin verb (used without object)

  1. (of a ship, boat, etc.) to fill with water and sink.
  2. to fall or sink down, as buildings, ground, etc.: Built on a former lake bed, the building has foundered nearly ten feet.
  3. to become wrecked; fail utterly: The project foundered because public support was lacking.
  4. to stumble, break down, or go lame, as a horse: His mount foundered on the rocky path.
  5. to become ill from overeating.
  6. Veterinary Pathology. (of a horse) to suffer from laminitis.

verb (used with object)

  1. to cause to fill with water and sink: Rough seas had foundered the ship in mid-ocean.
  2. Veterinary Pathology. to cause (a horse) to break down, go lame, or suffer from laminitis.


  1. Veterinary Pathology. laminitis.

Origin of founder 2 1300–50; Middle English foundren Middle French fondrer to plunge to the bottom, submerge Vulgar Latin *fundorāre, derivative of *fundor-, taken as stem of Latin fundus bottomRelated formsun·foun·dered, adjectiveun·foun·der·ing, adjectiveSynonyms for founder 3. collapse, perish, succumb, topple, sink; flop. Related Words for foundering designer, patron, benefactor, creator, builder, author, planner, architect, organizer, inventor, abort, stumble, originator, beginner, generator, constructor, maker, initiator, framer, sprawl Examples from the Web for foundering Contemporary Examples of foundering

  • Deshchytsia suggests the daylong Geneva talks came close to foundering.

    Ukraine Foreign Minister Speaks of Mistrust—and a Truce

    Jamie Dettmer

    April 19, 2014

  • Right at the epicenter of big time pop, music is foundering as a wealth enterprise.

    The Music Industry Is Dying? Great

    James Poulos

    December 26, 2013

  • Obama’s lawyers are foundering in explaining the legal rationale for his Libyan adventure.

    The Lawless Presidency

    Bruce Ackerman

    June 29, 2011

  • The foundering Kraft buyout of Cadbury is the latest example of how corporate boards are costing us trillions.

    How Boards Are Destroying Corporations

    David Zweig, John Gillespie

    January 13, 2010

  • The GOP was foundering so badly, pundits talked in terms of “decades” of Democratic dominance.

    The GOP’s Blacklist

    Mark McKinnon

    November 24, 2009

  • Historical Examples of foundering

  • They ought to have left before, when we had that narrow squeak from foundering.


    Joseph Conrad

  • Written three days before the foundering of the Monitor off Hatteras, Dec. 31st 1862.


    Henry Morford

  • And isn’t Hodgson foundering my mare at this moment in chase of him?

    The Adventures of Harry Revel

    Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

  • Had it fallen out, no human power could have prevented the ship from foundering.

    Captain Cook

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • If ye hang to the gunwale, is it my fault an ye be drowned in my foundering if I founder?’

    Privy Seal

    Ford Madox Ford

  • British Dictionary definitions for foundering founder 1 noun

    1. a person who establishes an institution, company, society, etc

    Word Origin for founder C14: see found ² founder 2 verb (intr)

    1. (of a ship) to sink
    2. to break down or failthe project foundered
    3. to sink into or become stuck in soft ground
    4. to fall in or give way; collapse
    5. (of a horse) to stumble or go lame
    6. archaic (of animals, esp livestock) to become ill from overeating


    1. vet science another name for laminitis

    Word Origin for founder C13: from Old French fondrer to submerge, from Latin fundus bottom; see found ²usage Founder is sometimes wrongly used where flounder is meant: this unexpected turn of events left him floundering (not foundering) founder 3 noun

      1. a person who makes metal castings
      2. (in combination)an iron founder

    Word Origin for founder C15: see found ³ Word Origin and History for foundering founder v.

    early 14c., from Old French fondrer “collapse; submerge, sink, fall to the bottom,” from fond “bottom,” from Latin fundus “bottom, foundation” (see fund (n.)). Related: Foundered; foundering.

    founder n.1

    “one who establishes, one who sets up or institutes something,” mid-14c., from Anglo-French fundur, Old French fondeor, from Latin fundator, agent noun from fundare (see found (v.1)).

    founder n.2

    “one who casts metal,” c.1400, agent noun from found (v.2).

    foundering in Medicine founder [foun′dər] v.

    1. To stumble, especially to stumble and go lame. Used of horses.
    2. To become ill from overeating. Used of livestock.
    3. To be afflicted with laminitis. Used of horses.


    1. laminitis

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