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muddy the waters

To introduce something, typically information, to an issue or situation that makes it less clear or more confusing. Don't muddy the waters with unrelated issues—we need to focus on this one problem. The last witness's testimony has muddied the waters, and most likely doubt has entered the minds of the jury members.
See also: muddy, water

muddy something up

1. to make water muddy; to stir up the mud in water, as at the bottom of a pond or river. Don't muddy the water up. It will clog our filters. Don't muddy up the water.
2. Fig. to make something unclear. You have really muddied this issue up. I thought I understood it. You sure muddied up this issue.
See also: muddy, up

muddy the water

Fig. to make something less clear; to make matters confusing; to create difficulty where there was none before. Things were going along quite smoothly until you came along and muddied the water. The events of the past month have muddied the water as far as our proposed joint venture is concerned.
See also: muddy, water

muddy the waters

Confuse the issue, as in Bringing up one irrelevant fact after another, he succeeded in muddying the waters. This metaphoric expression, alluding to making a pond or stream turbid by stirring up mud from the bottom, was first recorded in 1837.
See also: muddy, water

muddy the waters

If someone or something muddies the waters, they make a situation or an issue more confusing and complicated. The society has been accused of trying to muddy the waters through its poll which has been described as `misleading'. This ruling seems only to have muddied the waters and we are seeking clarification.
See also: muddy, water

muddy the waters

make an issue or a situation more confusing and harder to understand by introducing complications.
The figurative use of muddy to mean ‘make something hard to perceive or understand’ occurs in Shakespeare ; muddy the waters dates from the mid 19th century.
See also: muddy, water

muddy the ˈwaters

(disapproving) make something which seemed clear and easy to understand before seem much less clear now: Recent research findings have muddied the waters considerably — nuclear scientists are having to re-examine all their existing theories.They’re just muddying the waters with all this new information.
See also: muddy, water
References in periodicals archive ?
A proxy fight makes it a little bit of a muddier issue but I think this valuation should be satisfactory considering where (Osteotech) is as a stand-alone entity," Roth Capital analyst Matt Dolan said.
The muddier the courses are the better as far as I'm concerned, and as we've had such a bad winter even the flat courses have been muddy in parts, so I'm not complaining.
THE boffins at Citroen have knocked out another version of the Berlingo van that, while not being a proper off-roader with 4x4, does have a clever traction-control system and a tough underside that allows it to get a bit muddier than your ordinary van.
Start to look for the blame and things get a little muddier.
Can you think of another sector in the logistics and transportation market that's had a muddier track to negotiate than truckload (TL)?
Both writers extol the most dazzling of living perceptions, knowing, however, how such experiential glories must inevitably dissolve--mixing into muddier streams of still-living, yet already dying consciousness.
But as dusk fell and the evening grew colder - and muddier - my night with a posse of dreadlocked crusaders was not so alluring.
Hence the real battle is over the muddier question of implied preemption, which often boils down to whether the state liability rule is inconsistent with the federal regime.
With al-Zarqawi's elimination in 2006 and his replacement by a collegial group, these ties are even muddier.
Understandably, some vehicles were muddier than others and, consequently, required more attention.
Alex didn't realize the 1001 uses museums have for arsenic but the more she digs, the muddier, or perhaps dustier, the information.
Take this quote, for example: "The more we researched NAS and SAN, the muddier the waters became.
Having packed up in record time, I had to negotiate the tracks out of a field which was considerably muddier than when we arrived in the sunshine on Friday.