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rum·​mage ˈrə-mij How to pronounce rummage (audio)
rummaged; rummaging

intransitive verb

: to make a thorough search or investigation
: to engage in an undirected or haphazard search

transitive verb

: to make a thorough search through : ransack
rummaged the attic
: to examine minutely and completely
: to discover by searching
rummager noun


2 of 2


: a confused miscellaneous collection
: items for sale at a rummage sale
: a thorough search especially among a confusion of objects

Examples of rummage in a Sentence

Verb He rummaged through the attic for his baseball card collection. He rummaged in his pocket for the receipt. I heard you rummaging around in the refrigerator. Noun a rummage of textbooks, notebooks, and old school papers all over the desk
Recent Examples on the Web
In the garage, Brittany and her husband rummaged through boxes of photos to mount around the house. James Ross Gardner, The New Yorker, 13 Sep. 2023 Someone had rummaged through a shelf behind the sales counter. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, 9 Sep. 2023 Anchorage Jane Heisel is used to seeing wildlife roaming in the woods of her South Anchorage backyard, but this is the first year she’s seen brown bears taking to the streets to rummage through trash cans for food. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Sep. 2023 Large herbivores regulate nature’s fire systems by eating plant matter that fuels wildfires and turning over soil and vegetation litter as a result of their rummaging behavior. Curtis Abraham, Scientific American, 9 Sep. 2023 On that warm midsummer morning, Stoke Abbott was all biscuit-colored loveliness in thatch and sandstone, with dog roses panting out of the hedges, mayflies shimmering, and bees rummaging in the foxgloves. Catherine Fairweather, Travel + Leisure, 28 Aug. 2023 After the raid was over, the family discovered that the soldiers had used the building as a temporary base and rummaged through their belongings. Ben Hubbard, New York Times, 7 July 2023 Her grandmothers were glamorous and let her rummage through their closets, where Zendaya would tie their slipdresses tight in the back to fit like a gown and pose in her maternal grandmother’s vintage jewelry. Clover Hope, ELLE, 23 Aug. 2023 Some of the attackers can be seen in the video opening and rummaging through the victim’s handbag, and one boy takes the victim’s phone and puts it in his pocket, the statement said. Isabela Rocha,, 16 July 2023
Xavieran Mission Festival: Live music, dinner specials, rummage and bake sale, 3-11 p.m. June 24; noon-7 p.m. June 25. Elaine Rewolinski, Journal Sentinel, 1 June 2023 Pets rummage around in small cages, adapting like their owners to a hybrid life, largely in darkness. Anastacia Galouchka, Washington Post, 28 Mar. 2023 Pets rummage around in small cages. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 28 Mar. 2023 The only products not allowed are antiques and rummage. Erik S. Hanley, Journal Sentinel, 16 Mar. 2023 Hundreds of festivalgoers rummage through displays of wicker baskets, fabric, artwork, and books. Rhyan Du Peloux, The Christian Science Monitor, 5 Dec. 2022 Fortunately, the truly hip will seek out the open source version of rummage-sale garb that makes the label-hungry crowd look gauche. Steven Levy, WIRED, 30 Sep. 2022 Taken together, Against All Odds is more than a shiny souvenir for Blondie fans or a rummage through the band’s archive. Erik Morse, Vogue, 23 Aug. 2022 Fifteen miles from the seat of the Indian government, cows rummage for fruit peels and pigs wallow in stagnant water. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, 25 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rummage.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

obsolete English romage act of stowing cargo, modification of Middle French arrimage, from arrimer to stow, from a- (from Latin ad-) + -rimer, from Middle English rimen to open up, make room for, from Old English rȳman — more at ream

First Known Use


1582, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of rummage was in 1582

Dictionary Entries Near rummage

Cite this Entry

“Rummage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
rum·​mage ˈrəm-ij How to pronounce rummage (audio)
rummaged; rummaging
: to make an active search especially by moving, turning, or looking through the contents of a place or container
rummaging through the attic


2 of 2 noun
: a confused miscellaneous collection of articles

More from Merriam-Webster on rummage

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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