grum·​ble | \ˈgrəm-bəl \
grumbled; grumbling\ˈgrəm-​b(ə-​)liŋ \

Definition of grumble 

intransitive verb

1 : to mutter in discontent grumbled about the scarcity of jobs

2 : growl, rumble Thunder grumbled in the distance.

transitive verb

: to express with grumbling grumbled his annoyance

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Other Words from grumble

grumble noun
grumbler \ˈgrəm-​b(ə-​)lər \ noun
grumblingly \ˈgrəm-​b(ə-​)liŋ-​lē \ adverb
grumbly \ˈgrəm-​b(ə-​)lē \ adjective

Examples of grumble in a Sentence

There's been a lot of grumbling among the employees. Some of the customers have been grumbling about poor service. Fans grumbled about the team's poor play. “When are we going to leave?” he grumbled. We could hear thunder grumbling in the distance.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In fact, Republicans grumbled for years that the McCain fun factor and his maverick streak made him more an ally of reporters than other Republicans. Laurie Kellman, The Seattle Times, "McCain had a ‘wicked’ wit that he often aimed at himself," 27 Aug. 2018 In the interview, Trump also grumbled about the protests. Karla Adam, Washington Post, "Britain greets Trump with protests, Baby Trump balloon," 13 July 2018 Several Democrats grumbled in private that the budget deal amounted to a bigger political win for Rauner. Rick Pearson,, "Rauner decision to sign state budget avoids election-year repeat of historic feud," 1 June 2018 In parts of Africa people grumble about competition from Chinese shopkeepers or construction firms. The Economist, "Opening the gatesChinese travellers of all sorts have become ubiquitous," 17 May 2018 Among Jackson's allies, even within the West Wing, some have grumbled that Trump's hurried decision to elevate him without extensive vetting has essentially let Jackson hang out to dry. Pamela Brown, CNN, "Jackson spotlights the frustration with poor White House vetting," 25 Apr. 2018 Colts general manager Chris Ballard grumbled, with his drop-the-mic walk-off line to finish a press conference on Wednesday. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Josh McDaniels risks reputation by reversing course on Colts," 7 Feb. 2018 Puerto Ricans also have grumbled about Higgins' $450,000 annual salary as the island struggles to emerge from an 11-year recession. Danica Coto,, "CEO of Puerto Rico's bankrupt power company abruptly resigns," 11 July 2018 Many Democratic voters grumbled over his conservative leanings. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "John Melcher, Montana Democrat in House and Senate, Dies at 93," 13 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grumble.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of grumble

1580, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for grumble

probably from Middle French grommeler, ultimately from Middle Dutch grommen; akin to Old High German grimm grim

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Statistics for grumble

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for grumble

The first known use of grumble was in 1580

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More Definitions for grumble



English Language Learners Definition of grumble

: to complain quietly about something : to talk in an unhappy way

: to make a low, heavy sound


grum·​ble | \ˈgrəm-bəl \
grumbled; grumbling

Kids Definition of grumble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to complain in a low voice



Kids Definition of grumble (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of complaining in a low voice

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More from Merriam-Webster on grumble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grumble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grumble

Spanish Central: Translation of grumble

Nglish: Translation of grumble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grumble for Arabic Speakers

Comments on grumble

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living or existing for a long time

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