ruminate

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

Essential Meaning of ruminate

1 formal : to think carefully and deeply about something The question got us ruminating on the real value of wealth. He ruminated over/about the implications of their decision.
2 technical, of an animal : to bring up and chew again what has already been chewed and swallowed a ruminating cow

Full 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

Other Words from ruminate

rumination \ ˌrü-​mə-​ˈnā-​shən How to pronounce ruminate (audio) \ noun
ruminative \ ˈrü-​mə-​ˌnā-​tiv How to pronounce ruminate (audio) \ adjective
ruminatively adverb
ruminator \ ˈrü-​mə-​ˌnā-​tər How to pronounce ruminate (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 There’s enough to ruminate about ahead of a date, your outfit need not be one of them. Rachel Besser, Vogue, 22 Nov. 2021 But the documentary does little to ruminate on the effect the show had on its host. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, 31 Oct. 2021 Both team will have 10 days to ruminate on Thursday night's game. Mitch Stacy, ajc, 1 Oct. 2021 Mike grumbles to Rafael in one of his many monologues that ruminate on his past. David Sims, The Atlantic, 15 Sep. 2021 JR Radcliffe ruminate on the achievement, the catch by Lorenzo Cain, the decision to work Hader in the ninth and Burnes' elevated place in the Cy Young conversation. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 Sep. 2021 In long emails interspersed between the central narrative, Eileen and Alice ruminate about everything from climate change to white privilege, from the history of writing to their ambivalence toward motherhood. Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2021 Many leaders tend to ruminate over a document or work problem for hours. Anne Sugar, Forbes, 25 May 2021 This is a fun, freewheeling, and oh-so-French action flick — the kind of movie that can slow down to ruminate on madeleines and Proust before proceeding with the mayhem. Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, 2 July 2021

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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The first known use of ruminate was in 1533

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Dictionary Entries Near ruminate

Ruminantia

ruminate

ruminatingly

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Last Updated

30 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ruminate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ruminate. Accessed 3 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for ruminate

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

ruminate

intransitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on ruminate

Nglish: Translation of ruminate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ruminate for Arabic Speakers

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