rum·ble | \ˈrəm-bəl \
rumbled; rumbling\ˈrəm-b(ə-)liŋ \

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 \ 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

Horton goes non-stop, rumbling in a furious rush through rich forest at the base of the Mogollon Rim. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "10 best hikes in Arizona show off state's diverse scenery," 13 July 2018 Sheep graze literally next door to the warehouses, and the sound of roosters crowing fills the air as the distillery wakes up and rumbles into action. Jonah Flicker, USA TODAY, "Explore four scenic distilleries in the U.K.," 22 June 2018 Apple versus Samsung—began 10 years ago and is still rumbling in courtrooms today. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "As Blockchain Grows, Companies Look to Avert a Patent War," 19 June 2018 The single is a darker, wobblier track that finds Damon Albarn’s voice rumbling through thick bass and heavy 808s. Mackenzie Cummings-grady, Billboard, "Gorillaz Release Slow-Burning Track 'Fire Flies': Listen," 14 June 2018 As the Capitals engulfed each other in a sea of humanity, helmets and sticks discarded, and the Vegas Golden Knights stood, kneeled and sat, contemplating what might have been, a roar started to rumble. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "The expansion Golden Knights' season ended in defeat, but not failure," 8 June 2018 The instruments’ rumbles can travel up to 10 times farther than singing or shouting because of their low pitch and high volume. Catherine Matacic, Science | AAAS, "If you listen closely, the drumbeats of Amazonian tribes sound like human speech," 24 Apr. 2018 Borough officials estimate that 25 log trucks every weekday could rumble down Oilwell Road. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Mat-Su floats major new timber venture. But is it too good to be true?," 8 Apr. 2018 Hotspots where armoured cars used to rumble now receive convoys of tourists. The Economist, "Britain underestimates Brexit’s damage to Northern Ireland," 28 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The steady, rhythmic rumble of the train wheels over the railroad ties reverberated through the carriage. Karl Ove Knausgaard, New York Times, "A Literary Road Trip Into the Heart of Russia," 14 Feb. 2018 Khan gives it more of a biting edge with sparse bass rumbles and wild textures. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Diplo Drops 'California' Remix Package, Valentino Khan Reworks 'Deadpool 2' Single," 29 June 2018 Uranus has an erratic nature (in certain astrological disciplines, Uranus is linked to earthquakes), so this planet's movement across your fifth house is sure to trigger some serious rumbles. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What May's Capricorn Horoscope Means for You," 26 Apr. 2018 But one thing that is quintessentially Wisconsin is the rumble of a Harley-Davidson roaring by. Adriana Ramirez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Oconomowoc Harley-Davidson continues construction on in-house training course," 13 July 2018 Go handheld for tight close-ups or place it on a tripod for wide shots, where the shock mount cancels any noisy rumbles. Arielle Pardes, WIRED, "Gadgets to Help You Shoot Pro-Quality Movies on Your iPhone," 1 July 2018 Skaters find focus in the rumble, practicing their tricks for hours. Amelia Nierenberg,, "Lynch Family Skatepark offers teenagers discipline, camaraderie, freedom," 2 July 2018 The four-cylinder engine sounds just right, greeting accelerator pressure with a rumble that's music to the ears. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "A sports car in SUV clothing: The Jaguar E-Pace reviewed," 28 June 2018 Another line goes to the doorway of the visitor center, where a cabinet the size of a Redbox DVD kiosk — but with a microwave-size screen at eye level — displays a live- map showing where rumbles are taking place. John Bordsen, USA TODAY, "North Korean nukes tracked from Tennessee tourist caverns," 13 Apr. 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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Phrases Related to rumble

rumble on

Statistics for rumble

Last Updated

19 Oct 2018

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

: to fight especially in the street



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

: a low, heavy sound or series of sounds

: a fight in the street especially between gangs


rum·ble | \ˈrəm-bəl \
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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Comments on rumble

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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