muddy the waters

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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 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 ?
He then muddies the water with his badly hidden "We live here" jibe and then shoves "priorities" into the equation.
Not a tasty fish, carp muddies the water, making it unsuitable for the much-preferred smallmouth bass, a "great sport fish," she says.
A RECENT letter on this page ('Data muddies the water on performance', Letters, October 4) contained a number of significant inaccuracies in relation to the exam regulator Ofqual and last year's GCSE English results.
This seventh edition changes little but looks exquisite, though the inclusion of loot crates muddies the waters.
There are mixed feelings when Naomi is reunited with her long-lost father Gary as Sheila's obvious favouritism muddies the waters of her happiness.
That muddies the waters," says Gary Pavela, a professor at the University of Maryland and expert on higher education law.
Revelations that Margaret Thatcher authorised the building of an Iraqi chemical warfare factory in 1985 further muddies the waters.
The move has enraged the pro-lobby, which says the action merely muddies the waters ahead of the forthcoming public debate on GM technology.
O'Donnell muddies the waters because, if further extended or expanded upon by the courts, it could impose a duty on the defense lawyer to the insured, who is the defense's adversary in the lawsuit.
But while Gordon Brown's was crystal clear, Cardinal Winning's stance muddies the waters.
They dismiss plans Los Angeles is courting to give its debated councils more authority over land use decisions or a budget to spend on neighborhood projects, saying that's exactly the kind of bureaucracy that muddies the waters of local activism.
That the literary skills on display announce themselves as inadequate for "real" fiction only muddies the waters.
It just muddies the waters even more regarding what our politicians really stand for.