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founder \FOUN-der\ verb
1 : to make or become disabled or lame
2 : to give way : collapse
3 : to become submerged : sink
4 : to come to grief : fail
As the vessel began to founder, the captain ordered everyone on board to prepare to abandon ship.
"If you adore New York City, you can't stand Los Angelesâand vice-versa, or so the myth goes. But theÂ Jennifer Aniston-Justin TherouxÂ marriage, according to People, may have foundered on just that urban divide." â Michael H. Hodges, The Detroit News, 17 Feb. 2018
Did you know?
Founder comes from Middle English foundren, meaning "to send to the bottom" or "collapse." That word came from the Middle French verb fondrer, and ultimately from the Latin noun fundus, meaning "bottom." When something founders, it usually hits the bottom in one sense or another. A foundering horseâthat is, a disabled oneâis likely to collapse to the ground. When a ship founders, it sinks to the bottom of the sea. Founder has a broader, figurative sense, tooâif someone's marriage or career is foundering, it isn't doing well and is therefore headed downward.