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grum·​bling ˈgrəm-b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce grumbling (audio)
plural grumblings
: a mutter of discontent : complaint
Operators of bars and restaurants, who hear the first-hand grumblings of customers on the boardwalk, tend to oppose the ordinance.Kevin Robinson
: a growling or reverberating noise : rumbling
On a shorter timescale, researchers and governments are working together to detect the first grumblings of an earthquake and alert communities that might be affected.Eva Botkin-Kowacki


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: expressing discontent especially by muttering
Meanwhile, grumbling fans wondered why the new coach hadn't hired any Ohioans for his staff.Erick Adelson
: making a low, heavy, rolling sound
There was no sound, still, but the rushing river and the grumbling, looming storm.Susan Cooper
grumblingly adverb
Some marine park wardens were doing a quick flyover, perhaps to check that we weren't poachers, and Al grumblingly went below to answer the crackling radio. Tony Perrottet

Examples of grumbling in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
There have also been grumblings from some traditionalists (of the rare book, not the Rodgers and Hammerstein, variety), along with some resignation. Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times, 17 Jan. 2024 Some would say the grumbling about Alabama is misguided, simply childish jealousy of a program that continually is knocking on the door. Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Jan. 2024 But as the prices of basic goods soar while the state spends heavily on flashy megaprojects, grumblings of discontent here are growing louder. Claire Parker, Washington Post, 10 Dec. 2023 Regardless, there will definitely be some grumbling as people get used to the new layout. Amrita Khalid, The Verge, 5 Dec. 2023 But his grumblings, in her characterization, boiled down to wanting more control over the project. Tatiana Siegel, Variety, 2 Nov. 2023 The dedication to a more inclusive shade range is the response to loud grumblings from the makeup community and further allows the brand to expand its reach and connect with a more rounded audience. ELLE, 5 Sep. 2023 As of Thursday, Freeze hadn’t heard any grumblings of guys leaving the program. Ainslie Lee |, al, 17 Aug. 2023 Enough with the grumbling about Padres manager Bob Melvin. Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'grumbling.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of grumbling was in 1598

Dictionary Entries Near grumbling

Cite this Entry

“Grumbling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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