Past Phrasle (#591)

Thursday, September 7, 2023

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Puzzle #590

muddying the water
Idiomatic expression that refers to the act of making a situation, issue, or matter more confusing, unclear, or complicated. When someone is said to be "muddying the water," it means they are introducing elements or arguments that distract from the main point or make it more difficult to understand what is going on.
The origin of this phrase likely comes from a literal observation. If you have a container of clear water and you introduce mud into it, the water becomes murky and it's harder to see through. Similarly, when someone muddies the waters in a discussion or situation, they make it more difficult for others to see the "clear" answer or truth. This expression is often used in various contexts, including politics, legal discussions, debates, and even personal relationships. It serves as a metaphorical way to express the idea that someone is intentionally or unintentionally obscuring the facts or the reality of a situation.