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

The most direct impact of Crowley's loss will be on the succession plan for House Democrats, who have been led for years by a trio of septuagenarians, despite grumbling from younger members. NBC News, "Broken in two: Democrats divided after Rep. Crowley's defeat," 28 June 2018 Reporting on the management shakeup, the Times noted reporters who worked on the story about the ex-dean grumbled to senior corporate management about how the story was handled by Maharaj and Duvoisin. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "Duvoisin, a former Los Angles Times top editor, named Express-News editor," 11 June 2018 Conte regularly grumbled about his failure to exert control, particularly over transfers and was always likely to be fired this offseason. Steve Douglas,, "Chelsea replace Conte with former Napoli boss Sarri," 14 July 2018 And though a collector’s first instinct typically is to grumble (Why didn’t such-and-such make the cut?), a more appropriate response in this case is gratitude. David Mermelstein, WSJ, "‘Debussy: His First Performers’ Review: Rare Restoration," 19 June 2018 Banks had much to grumble about under Barack Obama. The Economist, "Other American banks may have misbehaved as Wells Fargo did. Which ones?," 14 June 2018 The two combined gave drivers something to grumble about late Tuesday. Colleen Shalby,, "Trump's arrival in Los Angeles comes with rain — and lots of traffic," 14 Mar. 2018 About 5,000 locals turned out to greet the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, who met business owners grumbling that footfall had plunged after the attack. The Economist, "A new Novichok poisoning in Britain," 5 July 2018 In those groups, teachers grumbled about low pay and posted photos of the sometimes shoddy classroom conditions for their students. Matt Pearce,, "Red-state revolt continues: Teachers strike in Oklahoma and protest in Kentucky," 3 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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Dictionary Entries near grumble








Statistics for grumble

Last Updated

14 Oct 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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Comments on grumble

What made you want to look up grumble? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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