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

intransitive verb

: to mutter in discontent
grumbled about the scarcity of jobs
: growl, rumble
Thunder grumbled in the distance.

transitive verb

: to express with grumbling
grumbled his annoyance
grumble noun
grumbler noun
grumbly adjective

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web And, though the gods of capitalism may grumble at my saying this, an artist’s work and life are radically separate things. Lauren Groff, The Atlantic, 14 Dec. 2022 Old Beaujolais hands may grumble, but the wines are superb. Eric Asimov, New York Times, 12 Sep. 2022 In each case there are naysayers who grumble and supporters who defend. Chris Mooney, Discover Magazine, 23 Nov. 2010 But even those who reach their destinations on time may have reason to grumble: Some will have to make their own hotel beds, wipe their own in-flight tray tables and wait in lines at airport lounges — or pay more for a smoother experience. Harriet Baskas, NBC News, 20 Dec. 2022 Liquidity is something people on Wall Street tend to grumble about, and deteriorating trading conditions across stocks, bonds and options have been an issue for years. Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, 29 Sep. 2022 So, while some people might grumble about neighbors leaving their lights and decorations up long past Dec. 25, that frustration doesn’t seem to carry over to their viewing habits. Chris Morris, Variety, 30 Nov. 2022 But even in town, some grumble about lack of consultation or transparency. Catherine Porter, New York Times, 20 Oct. 2022 Some local Democrats privately grumble that her outreach has been insufficient and that her national celebrity has turned off practical-minded voters. Time, 7 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


probably from Middle French grommeler, ultimately from Middle Dutch grommen; akin to Old High German grimm grim

First Known Use

1580, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of grumble was in 1580

Dictionary Entries Near grumble

Cite this Entry

“Grumble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


grum·​ble ˈgrəm-bəl How to pronounce grumble (audio)
grumbled; grumbling -b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce grumble (audio)
: to mutter in discontent
grumble noun
grumbler noun
grumblingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on grumble

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