grum·​ble | \ ˈgrəm-bəl How to pronounce grumble (audio) \
grumbled; grumbling\ ˈgrəm-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce grumbling (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 grumbler (audio) \ noun
grumbly \ ˈgrəm-​b(ə-​)lē How to pronounce grumbly (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 Many Democrats grumble about a conservative Republican being afforded a say amid the party’s crowning of Biden and running mate Kamala Harris, senator from California. Randy Ludlow, The Enquirer, "John Kasich has finally found a convention he can in good conscience attend," 17 Aug. 2020 Accountants grumble that dividends can increase tax bills. The Economist, "Schumpeter Big Tech is the new dividend royalty," 15 Aug. 2020 Why grumble about a 401(k) when so much is so unstable? Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Does a 401(k) plan still make sense for you? It might, or might not," 31 July 2020 Eric remembers his father often telling him about how Gus would grumble about Lucille talking to each customer and how that would back up the line. Elliott Lapin, Houston Chronicle, "Moeller’s Bakery celebrates 90 years but remains true to its roots," 23 June 2020 Emergencies chief Ryan grumbled that since China was providing the minimal information required by international law, there was little WHO could do. Fox News, "China delayed releasing coronavirus info, frustrating WHO despite public praise," 3 June 2020 His campaign aides grumble that his attempts at President Trump counterprogramming have been overlooked by cable news networks, including a criminal justice listening session on Monday. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Joe Biden reaches for Barack Obama moment in Philadelphia," 2 June 2020 Product manufacturers often grumbled that selling their wares to Walmart meant talking to two different buyers, whose interests were not always aligned. Matthew Boyle,, "Walmart Fuses Buying Teams to Cut Down on Cross-Company Red Tape," 15 May 2020 Players grumbled that the grass dried and hardened as the season progressed, causing the ball to bounce too high and roll too fast. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Artificial Turf Strikes Back in Baseball," 10 Mar. 2020

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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Statistics for grumble

Last Updated

28 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Grumble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for grumble


How to pronounce grumble (audio)

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 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

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