rum·​ble | \ ˈrəm-bəl How to pronounce rumble (audio) \
rumbled; rumbling\ ˈrəm-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce rumbling (audio) \

Definition of rumble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to make a low heavy rolling sound thunder rumbling in the distance
2 : to travel with a low reverberating sound wagons rumbled into town
3 : to speak in a low rolling tone
4 : to engage in a rumble

transitive verb

1 : to utter or emit in a low rolling voice
2 British : to reveal or discover the true character of



Definition of rumble (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a low heavy continuous reverberating often muffled sound (as of thunder)
b : low frequency noise in phonographic playback caused by the transmission of mechanical vibrations by the amin to the pickup
2 : a seat for servants behind the body of a carriage
3a : widespread expression of dissatisfaction or unrest
b : a street fight especially among gangs

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Other Words from rumble


rumbler \ ˈrəm-​b(ə-​)lər How to pronounce rumbler (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for rumble

Synonyms: Verb

growl, grumble, lumber, roll

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Examples of rumble in a Sentence


Thunder rumbled in the distance. The train rumbles through town twice a day. We watched as the trucks rumbled past. The gangs rumbled in the alley.


I was awakened by the rumble of a train passing by.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The aftershocks of the embarrassing release rumbled through the corridors of the British Parliament and government - with lawmakers and officials unsure whether the Ambassador Kim Darroch would survive to finish his assignment in 2020. William Booth, Anchorage Daily News, "Britain to apologize for leaked cables calling Trump ‘inept’," 8 July 2019 Debates which raged between Europe’s 16th-century reformers are rumbling on in America’s influential seminaries. The Economist, "When American evangelicals fall out," 5 July 2019 Far, far below me — some 800 feet down — the Arkansas River rumbled with its continuous deluge of snowmelt. Sarah Kuta, The Know, "What are via ferratas and why is Colorado so crazy about them?," 2 July 2019 Thunderstorms rumbled along the Front Range Monday unleashing hard rain in some areas including Sheridan, where a sinkhole formed and where at least one car was sunk below an elevated railroad crossing. Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, "Downpour in Sheridan opens up sinkhole, floods Oxford Avenue at Santa Fe," 1 July 2019 What began in the shadows of the Alps on Saturday afternoon rumbled through to the north of France on Sunday, sparking anger, confusion and remarkable scenes. Aimee Lewis, CNN, "Women's World Cup: Referees and VAR under the microscope after dramatic weekend in France," 23 June 2019 Early’s remarkable life rumbles along — from Chargers pass routes to roundhouse kicks, big-screen bruises to a widening world of words. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Former Chargers WR Quinn Early shifts from NFL to film," 18 June 2019 Kids are out of school, ice cream trucks rumble through neighborhood streets, pools are open and Little League games are still being played in local parks. Lynn Petrak,, "Petrak: Summer brings good stories, and that's good news," 6 June 2019 Beyond their village, great herds of buffalo thrived in the swamps, elephants rumbled in the forests, and prides of lions hunted on the fringes of the floodplains. Paul Steyn, National Geographic, "How the world’s largest lion relocation was pulled off," 2 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The basketball courts were awfully short for the giants who thundered up and down amid the sound of birdsong or, in May, the rumble of race cars. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: Home to McGinnis, Mount and the greatest pick-up basketball in Indiana," 10 July 2019 Sometimes there was the low rumble of thunder or the hum of a motorboat, its tiny lights crossing far out from west to east. Mary Grimm, The New Yorker, "Back Then," 17 June 2019 There are rhinos here and there in the production design, to be sure, but a lot of their impact comes in not knowing quite what to expect as Joseph Cerqua’s sound design builds up the suspense with low rumbles, snorts and growls. Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News, "Review: Hilarious ‘Rhinoceros’ revival in SF comes just in time," 6 June 2019 Not for a team that has listened to the whispers and rumbles for months now about how the days of their dynasty might be ending and heard since Friday how brilliant and devastating France looked in its World Cup opener. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: US women did what was necessary in 13-0 blowout of Thailand," 31 May 2019 In the midst of this seismic swarm, a strange low-frequency rumble rippled around the world, ringing sensors nearly 11,000 miles away—and baffling scientists. National Geographic, "Strange waves rippled around Earth. Now we may know why.," 21 May 2019 The rumble of a kayak being dragged across the pebbled beach. Christopher Reynolds,, "On Santa Cruz, California’s largest island, foxes play and a traffic jam is 6 kayaks," 9 June 2019 And lurking within, at the foot of the holy mountain known as Nanda Devi, lies an inviolable Shangri-la of golden grassland, silent but for the rumble of avalanches and the plaintive bleats of wild sheep. National Geographic, "Why the world’s most daunting mountains inspire me," 11 Apr. 2019 Confidence: Medium-High Tonight: Skies become mostly cloudy and showers are likely toward morning. Don’t be shocked if there’s a rumble of thunder or two. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: 60s to start the week, 40s midweek, 50s by the weekend," 22 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rumble.' 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 rumble


15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for rumble


Middle English; akin to Middle High German rummeln to rumble

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Statistics for rumble

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rumble

The first known use of rumble was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for rumble



English Language Learners Definition of rumble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make a low, heavy, continuous sound or series of sounds
: to move along with a low, heavy, continuous sound
US, informal + old-fashioned : to fight especially in the street



English Language Learners Definition of rumble (Entry 2 of 2)

: a low, heavy sound or series of sounds
US, informal + old-fashioned : a fight in the street especially between gangs


rum·​ble | \ ˈrəm-bəl How to pronounce rumble (audio) \
rumbled; rumbling

Kids Definition of rumble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make or move with a low heavy continuous sound A truck rumbled by.



Kids Definition of rumble (Entry 2 of 2)

: a low heavy rolling sound a rumble of thunder

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More from Merriam-Webster on rumble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rumble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rumble

Spanish Central: Translation of rumble

Nglish: Translation of rumble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rumble for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about rumble

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