grum·​ble | \ ˈgrəm-bəl How to pronounce grumble (audio) \
grumbled; grumbling\ ˈgrəm-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce grumble (audio) \

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 How to pronounce grumble (audio) \ noun
grumbly \ ˈgrəm-​b(ə-​)lē How to pronounce grumble (audio) \ 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 Dad was still known to grumble about the narrow range of comfort people were accustoming themselves to. Murr Brewster, The Christian Science Monitor, 9 Aug. 2021 Customers may grumble that the foods are costlier than at supermarkets, and some are, although plenty are competitively priced., 30 July 2021 Perhaps employees will gripe and grumble for a bit before resigning themselves to the return of the status quo. David Carry, Forbes, 5 July 2021 Coaches and scouts will grumble about moving the event from Indy, which has a perfect little downtown setup., 21 June 2021 While some may grumble that 5 milligrams is too little THC to serve as the state’s standard dose, the commission’s overall approach here seems reasonable enough., 11 July 2021 People often grumble that plastics are too durable. Sam Kean, Science | AAAS, 2 July 2021 Some customers may grumble at paying more for stamps and services when delivery times are slower, raising the risk of a downward spiral where postal customers continue to shift business away from the USPS, Steidler added. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 29 May 2021 Several party lawmakers in Uttar Pradesh, India’s biggest state and one controlled by Mr. Modi’s party, have begun to grumble about the way the state government has responded. New York Times, 11 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for grumble

Time Traveler

The first known use of grumble was in 1580

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Last Updated

17 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Grumble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Sep. 2021.

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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 : rumble


grum·​ble | \ ˈgrəm-bəl How to pronounce grumble (audio) \
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

More from Merriam-Webster on grumble

Nglish: Translation of grumble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grumble for Arabic Speakers


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