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
grumblingly \ ˈgrəm-​b(ə-​)liŋ-​lē How to pronounce grumblingly (audio) \ adverb
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 Bankers and money managers grumbling that a President Elizabeth Warren would be bad for business. Christine Romans, CNN, "Wall Street is no fan of Elizabeth Warren," 7 Nov. 2019 Still, immigration hard-liners close to the president urged him not to pick Wolf, even for a temporary position, grumbling about Wolf's lobbying work for Indian companies seeking employment visas. Nick Miroff, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump says Chad Wolf is now acting Homeland Security chief, adding to confusion about transition," 2 Nov. 2019 The attitude on the team, one of veterans understandably grumbling, wasn’t known at the trade. Dave Hyde,, "Hyde: On further review, Dolphins’ trade of Minkah Fitzpatrick to Steelers still makes little sense | Commentary," 27 Oct. 2019 Yet this has not deterred recent grumbling on social media over the traffic caused by royal motorcades. The Economist, "King Vajiralongkorn dismisses his official mistress," 24 Oct. 2019 This wasn’t the case in 2016, when grumbling about the outsized power of tech was largely confined to activists and those on the most liberal end of the spectrum. Washington Post, "Warren escalates Facebook fight with ad targeting Zuckerberg," 14 Oct. 2019 This wasn't the case in 2016, when grumbling about the outsized power of tech was largely confined to activists and those on the most liberal end of the spectrum. Barbara Ortutay,, "Elizabeth Warren runs Facebook ad targeting Mark Zuckerberg over social network’s policy of not fact-checking political ads," 14 Oct. 2019 Bassoons grumbling when Luke’s starship becomes increasingly mired in the swamp before flutes, celeste and harp bring hope with an ethereal, mysterious mood. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Review: Minnesota Orchestra’s ‘Empire Strikes Back’ makes music paramount," 3 Oct. 2019 The earlier bipartisan support that helped us clean our air and water brought grumbling from powerful industrial sectors that led to efforts to dismantle the EPA and loosen regulations. Sue Mcmillin, The Denver Post, "McMillin: Maybe five decades after the first Earth Day, the kids’ environmental movement will stick," 24 Sep. 2019

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

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for grumble

The first known use of grumble was in 1580

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on grumble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grumble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grumble

Spanish Central: Translation of grumble

Nglish: Translation of grumble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grumble for Arabic Speakers

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).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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