Flounders are fish, members of the flatfish family. Flatfish are known principally for two things:

  1. being flat
  2. living on the “bottom“ of the sea.

The Latin “fundus” means “bottom” (which also gives us the words “foundation,” “found” and “fundamental,” among others).

This has always seemed like a relatively obvious connection to me - found/flounder - yet another thread on stackexchange is entertaining much less likely connections.

For example, virtually ALL fish flop around when placed on the deck of a boat, not just members of the flounder family.

  • Did you look at the definition of "flounder"? – Hot Licks May 9 '20 at 16:32
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    Flounder:: "flatfish," c. 1300, from Anglo-French floundre, Old North French flondre, from Old Norse flydhra, from Proto-Germanic flunthrjo (source also of Middle Low German vlundere, Danish flynder, Old Swedish flundra "flatfish"), suffixed and nasalized form of PIE root *plat- "to spread." – Decapitated Soul May 9 '20 at 16:36
  • The other thread is looking at the etymology of the verb, to flounder. – Edwin Ashworth May 9 '20 at 16:44
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    The English FL- assonance phonestheme has three principal (highly coherent and broadly overlapping) semantic centers; the various meanings of flounder punch all of them. For comparison, the SK- assonance has only one uncomplicated center, with a similar meaning. – John Lawler May 9 '20 at 16:49
  • Agreeing with JL. fl-: which is expressive of movement and characterizes a family of words, as in: flap, flare, flee, flick, flicker, flounder, fling, flip, flit, flitter, flow, flutter, fly, flurry, flounce, flourish, flout, flail, flash, flex, flinch, flock, flop (actually, this is just a partial list since there seem to be about 125 words with this phonestheme . . .). – Decapitated Soul May 9 '20 at 16:57

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