Flounder vs. Founder
As a result of the owner’s excessive drinking, the company floundered and closed its doors after only a year in business.
Have you ever seen a flounder? Not the one in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, but a real one. Flounders are some of the most bizarre fish I’ve ever seen. They seem to have eyes on the same side of their head … or face or whatever. Their strange appearance makes it easy for me to envision a flounder floundering (or clumsily moving or thrashing about) when plopped on a boat deck.
In the “drinking” sentence above, however, the company didn’t flop about like a fish out of water … it sank like the Titanic. It foundered. Founder means to fill with water and sink; to break down or to fail.
Need a mnemonic device to keep the two straight?
- Flounder — flops about like a “flounder” out of water.
- Founder — sinks like a damaged ship, which can be “found” at the bottom of the ocean.
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