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Related to muddily: muddied, muddy up

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

to make a situation more confusing He's just trying to muddy the waters so we won't notice all the bad things he's done.
Usage notes: sometimes used with a modifier: The controversy has muddied the social waters of communities throughout this region.
Related vocabulary: muck something up
See also: muddy, water

muddy the waters

to make a situation more confused and less easy to understand or deal with The statistics you quoted didn't prove anything, they simply muddied the waters.
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
References in periodicals archive ?
Ashley heard a low roar above his head and the distorted strains of Jimi Hendrix spilled muddily through the ceiling.
The Graduate,'' ``Carnal Knowledge'') before more-recent movies (``Regarding Henry,'' ``Wolf,'' ``Heartburn,'' ``Primary Colors'') became muddily self-satisfied and/or self-important.
My summary necessarily tramples muddily across Freedman's elegant text.
The most eagerly awaited race staged on a rain-lashed fixture watched by a crowd of almost 20,000 was won muddily but serenely, with Susannah Ricci's six-year-old cruising past Zarkandar's front-running stablemate Empire Levant at the penultimate flight before sauntering clear of Paul Nicholls' principal hope.
Love Cruise,'' which pairs eight single men and eight equally unmarried women on a boat adrift - both physically and spiritually - in the Caribbean for some frolicsome if muddily defined activities, isn't quite shameless enough to be ``Temptation Island,'' or interesting enough to be ``Survivor,'' or pathetic enough to be ``Big Brother.
The problem seemed to be that somebody well-meaning but utterly ignorant of the ways of animals would see Breton Banquet lying muddily in his field - no doubt thinking fondly of his former trainer Bill Marshall or worrying that he'd eaten too much grass - conclude that he was suffering and rush to phone the RSPCA.
Directed by Martha Coolidge from a teleplay by novelist Richard Russo (``Nobody's Fool''), this Hallmark Hall of Fame production is a muddily motivated, tin-eared and virtually joyless drama that spends more time steamrolling out its chockablock quirks than reveling in them.