Definition of ruminate
1 : to go over in the mind repeatedly and often casually or slowly
2 : to chew repeatedly for an extended period
1 : to chew again what has been chewed slightly and swallowed : chew the cud
2 : to engage in contemplation : reflect
ruminationplay \ˌrü-mə-ˈnā-shən\ noun
ruminativeplay \ˈrü-mə-ˌnā-tiv\ adjective
ruminatorplay \-ˌnā-tər\ noun
ruminate was our Word of the Day on 12/23/2016. Hear the podcast!
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.
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).
Origin and Etymology of 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
First Known Use: 1533
Synonym Discussion of ruminate
RUMINATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ruminate for English Language Learners
: to think carefully and deeply about something
of an animal : to bring up and chew again what has already been chewed and swallowed
RUMINATE Defined for Kids
Medical Definition of ruminate
1: to chew again what has been chewed slightly and swallowed : chew the cud
2: to engage in contemplation
Seen and Heard
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