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

Conservatives and budget hawks immediately grumbled about new spending and the elimination of the 2011 caps known as sequestration, an effort to limit federal spending. Los Angeles Times, "In forging a budget deal, Pelosi found a Trump official she can work with," 2 Aug. 2019 Mr Rosselló might also have found ways to assuage voters who grumbled that his government presided over nepotism and corruption. A.r. | Chicago, The Economist, "The resignation of Ricardo Rosselló," 25 July 2019 Intel suffered through a similar situation during its Coffee Lake launch—supplies were short, and customers grumbled. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "AMD Ryzen 3900X hits $740 on eBay as AMD struggles to deliver its flagship chip," 24 July 2019 Mining jobs became scarcer; many residents grumble that the current plant owners, Nirma Ltd., are based in India and don’t care about their well-being like previous bosses did. Gustavo Arellano,, "Massive earthquakes cracked the very foundations of the tiny but tough town of Trona," 8 July 2019 Regulars welcome the chance to grumble about the uncaring servers, the so-so club sandwiches and the crumbs on the floor at that Jim’s a few miles away. Greg Jefferson,, "Pondering what makes Jim’s Jim’s," 4 July 2019 Some New Yorkers, like Jerry Holste, 70, have been grumbling about the influx of visitors. New York Times, "At WorldPride in N.Y., Millions Are Expected to Celebrate and, for Some, Come Out," 26 June 2019 Traditional label executives, on the other hand, tend to grumble about label services firms. Steven Zeitchik, Washington Post, "How Bruce Hornsby’s new album suggests everything that’s wrong — and right — with the modern music business," 15 June 2019 The pressure ahead of such a critical election is palpable, and there's already been grumbling about the running order of the debate. Lorraine Ali,, "Why reality TV has nothing on the Democratic debates," 23 June 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

5 Aug 2019

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 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

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

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


to shake or wave menacingly

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