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

After three brilliant and heartfelt parenting parables that ruminated on aging, loss and impermanence alongside the pitfalls of arcade claw machines and toddler daycare centers, this was the final goodbye. Washington Post, "‘Toy Story’ lives on, but should it have?," 19 June 2019 Still, Nash & Young, though David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash (who now looks alarmingly like Eric Idle) are among the numerous talking heads who ruminate on those long-ago days — and maybe even more on the nights. Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, "When Byrds of a feather, and other bands, flocked together," 13 June 2019 The bedroom reeks pleasantly of timbers, mildew, brick; the kitchen at night races with mice and assassin bugs; and in the pasture the cows moan and ruminate and gather under the shade of the trees to escape the withering sun. Christopher Ketcham, Harper's magazine, "Ramblin’ Man," 24 June 2019 Many survivors of violence and abuse experience extreme fears stemming from past abuse, which can lead to what’s known as catastrophic thinking, defined as obsessively ruminating over worst-case outcomes. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "What You Should Know About Dating a Domestic Abuse Survivor," 26 Oct. 2018 In it, an aging Hollywood actor and his even older agent meet regularly to ruminate on life and showbiz. Rico Gagliano, WSJ, "This Iconic Hollywood Restaurant Lets You Travel Back in Time," 13 Feb. 2019 Without much room left in my brain after listening to my music and counting reps and sets, my mind would be blissfully free from ruminating over the news and various stressors in my life. Celeste Kaufman, SELF, "I’ve Become Someone Who Loves the Gym and Barely Recognize Myself Anymore," 2 Aug. 2018 On Wednesday, November 7, the new moon in Scorpio inspires you to ruminate on this concept. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What November's Capricorn Horoscope Means for You," 28 Oct. 2018 The episode is using the war as its foundational tragedy, so that once the story moves backward in time past the war, the episode can ruminate on the sheer, horrible coincidence of any human life. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "This Is Us goes to Vietnam for a poignant, gut-wrenching episode," 21 Oct. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near ruminate

rum-hole

ruminant

Ruminantia

ruminate

ruminatingly

rumkin

rumless

Statistics for ruminate

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ruminate

The first known use of ruminate was in 1533

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More Definitions for ruminate

ruminate

verb

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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More from Merriam-Webster on ruminate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ruminate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ruminate

Spanish Central: Translation of ruminate

Nglish: Translation of ruminate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ruminate for Arabic Speakers

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