ruminate

verb
ru·​mi·​nate | \ ˈrü-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce ruminate (audio) \
ruminated; ruminating

Definition of ruminate

transitive verb

1 : to go over in the mind repeatedly and often casually or slowly
2 : to chew repeatedly for an extended period

intransitive verb

1 : to chew again what has been chewed slightly and swallowed : chew the cud
2 : to engage in contemplation : reflect

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Other Words from ruminate

rumination \ ˌrü-​mə-​ˈnā-​shən How to pronounce rumination (audio) \ noun
ruminative \ ˈrü-​mə-​ˌnā-​tiv How to pronounce ruminative (audio) \ adjective
ruminatively adverb
ruminator \ ˈrü-​mə-​ˌnā-​tər How to pronounce ruminator (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for ruminate

ponder, meditate, muse, ruminate mean to consider or examine attentively or deliberately. ponder implies a careful weighing of a problem or, often, prolonged inconclusive thinking about a matter. pondered the course of action meditate implies a definite focusing of one's thoughts on something so as to understand it deeply. meditated on the meaning of life muse suggests a more or less focused daydreaming as in remembrance. mused upon childhood joys ruminate implies going over the same matter in one's thoughts again and again but suggests little of either purposive thinking or rapt absorption. ruminated on past disappointments

Did You Know?

When you ruminate you chew something over, either literally or figuratively. Literal rumination may seem a little gross to humans, but to cows, chewing your cud (that's partially digested food brought up from the stomach for another chew) is just a natural part of life. Figurative ruminating is much more palatable to humans; that kind of deep, meditative thought is often deemed quite a worthy activity. The verb "ruminate" has described metaphorical chewing over since the 1500s and actual chewing since the early 1600s. Our English word derives from and shares the meanings of the Latin ruminari, which in turn derives from "rumen," the Latin name for the first stomach compartment of ruminant animals (that is, creatures like cows that chew their cud).

Examples of ruminate in a Sentence

The question got us ruminating on the real value of wealth. He ruminated over the implications of their decision.
Recent Examples on the Web Numerous players ruminated about Bryant's sudden passing, most still in very reflective and somber moods when the subject arose. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "32 things we learned from Super Bowl LIV's Opening Night with Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers," 28 Jan. 2020 In a watchtower on the border of Iran and Pakistan, soldier Hamin is angrily ruminating about why he was denied permission to attend his sister’s wedding back home. Houston Chronicle, "Outside the Megaplex: Here are the Houston arthouse movies showing Jan. 17-23," 16 Jan. 2020 In the year of BTS, the act furthered their messaging from exploring self-love to understanding oneself, and fittingly moved on from the Love Yourself trilogy to ruminate on Jungian psychology in the form of Map of the Soul: Persona. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 25 Best K-pop Albums of 2019: Critics' Picks," 31 Dec. 2019 Impeachment, as a news story, had been partly fueled by some of those pundits who used their shows to ruminate on conspiracy theories about Ukraine that the president latched onto. Sarah Ellison, Washington Post, "How the president’s favorite news network covered his impeachment," 19 Dec. 2019 The author also ruminates about Trump's fitness for office, describing him as reckless and without full control of his faculties. Philip Rucker, Anchorage Daily News, "Book by ‘Anonymous’ describes Trump as cruel, inept and a danger to the nation," 8 Nov. 2019 But having hours to let my mind ruminate combined with the novelty of different conditions and scenery gives my brain space to play. Alli Harvey, Anchorage Daily News, "The comfort of routine or the challenge of change? Sometimes you can have both," 9 Nov. 2019 With the sky completely black, this is an excellent day to ruminate on this concept. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What October's Pisces Horoscope Means for You," 30 Sep. 2018 Towering above a river in his jerkin and waders, fly cast, cigar firmly in mouth, was a good way to ruminate on big decisions. The Economist, "Obituary: Paul Volcker died on December 8th," 12 Dec. 2019

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

1533, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for ruminate

Latin ruminatus, past participle of ruminari to chew the cud, muse upon, from rumin-, rumen rumen; perhaps akin to Sanskrit romantha act of chewing the cud

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Time Traveler for ruminate

Time Traveler

The first known use of ruminate was in 1533

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Last Updated

3 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ruminate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ruminating. Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for ruminate

ruminate

verb
How to pronounce ruminate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ruminate

formal : to think carefully and deeply about something
technical, of an animal : to bring up and chew again what has already been chewed and swallowed

ruminate

verb
ru·​mi·​nate | \ ˈrü-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce ruminate (audio) \
ruminated; ruminating

Kids Definition of ruminate

: to think carefully and deeply : meditate
ru·​mi·​nate | \ ˈrü-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce ruminate (audio) \
ruminated; ruminating

Medical Definition of ruminate

1 : to chew again what has been chewed slightly and swallowed : chew the cud
2 : to engage in contemplation

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Comments on ruminate

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