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foun·der 1

v. foun·dered, foun·der·ing, foun·ders
1. To sink below the surface of the water: The ship struck a reef and foundered.
2. To cave in; sink: The platform swayed and then foundered.
3. To fail utterly; collapse: a marriage that soon foundered.
4. To stumble, especially to stumble and go lame. Used of horses.
5. To become ill from overeating. Used of livestock.
6. To be afflicted with laminitis. Used of horses.
To cause to founder: A large wave foundered the boat.

[Middle English foundren, to sink to the ground, from Old French fondrer, from Vulgar Latin *funderāre, from *fundus, *funder-, bottom, from Latin fundus, fund-.]
Usage Note: The verbs founder and flounder are often confused. Founder comes from a Latin word meaning "bottom" (as in foundation) and originally referred to knocking enemies down; it is now also used to mean "to fail utterly, collapse." Flounder means "to move clumsily, thrash about," and hence "to proceed in confusion." If John is foundering in Chemistry 101, he had better drop the course; if he is floundering, he may yet pull through.

found·er 2

One who establishes something or formulates the basis for something: the founder of a university.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.foundering - (of a ship) sinking
ship - a vessel that carries passengers or freight
sinking - a descent as through liquid (especially through water); "they still talk about the sinking of the Titanic"
References in classic literature ?
We were not much more than a quarter of an hour out of our ship till we saw her sink, and then I understood for the first time what was meant by a ship foundering in the sea.