tum·​ble | \ ˈtəm-bəl How to pronounce tumble (audio) \
tumbled; tumbling\ ˈtəm-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce tumbling (audio) \

Definition of tumble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to fall suddenly and helplessly
b : to suffer a sudden downfall, overthrow, or defeat
c : to decline suddenly and sharply (as in price) : drop the stock market tumbled
d : to fall into ruin : collapse
2a : to perform gymnastic feats in tumbling
b : to turn end over end in falling or flight
3 : to roll over and over, to and fro, or end over end : toss
4 : to issue forth hurriedly and confusedly
5 : to come by chance : stumble
6 : to come to understand : catch on didn't tumble to the seriousness of the problem

transitive verb

1 : to cause to tumble (as by pushing or toppling)
2a : to throw together in a confused mass
3 : to whirl in a tumbling barrel



Definition of tumble (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a disordered mass of objects or material
b : a disorderly state
2 : an act or instance of tumbling

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Examples of tumble in a Sentence


He tripped and tumbled to the ground. The statue came tumbling down during the riots. The satellite was tumbling out of control. She slipped and tumbled down the hill. Everyone came tumbling out of the bar at closing time. He tumbled into bed and fell asleep. Water tumbled over the rocks.


cleaned a crazy tumble of buttons, hair bands, loose change, and old candy wrappers out from the couch cushions took a little tumble on the ice
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The other injuries were from blows received in falls as the crowds of runners tumbled out of the way of the much faster bulls. NBC News, "One gored, 5 more hurt in running of bulls during San Fermin festival in Pamplona," 11 July 2019 The other injuries were from blows received in falls as the crowds of runners tumble out of the way of the much faster bulls. Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY, "Pamplona veterans protest running of the bulls as too safe, despite numerous injuries," 11 July 2019 According to Chinese legend, an empress discovered silk when a cocoon tumbled into her cup of tea. Vanessa Hua, SFChronicle.com, "The wonder of silkworms, past and present," 5 July 2019 In need a spark, the Fever got just that after a flagrant foul sent Natalie Achonwa tumbling into the stanchion. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "Fever overcome 22-point deficit before losing late to Lynx," 26 June 2019 That helps explain why shares of banks in Europe rose even as bond yields tumbled. Paul J. Davies, WSJ, "Markets Weigh Up Draghi Versus Trump," 18 June 2019 Here, on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Zambezi River plunges off a high escarpment, tumbling some 350 feet into a narrow chasm and creating a mile-wide veil of mist and rushing water shot through with rainbows. National Geographic, "Africa by Private Jet," 12 June 2019 Shopping for your first vibrator is kind of like when Alice tumbled down that rabbit hole: a little scary and possibly confusing but ultimately a pretty exhilarating trip into a whole new world. Gigi Engle, SELF, "5 Tips for Buying Your Very First Vibrator," 26 June 2019 Or a death march of also-rans and wannabes tumbling out on stage like clowns from a small car? Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Why should you care about the Democratic debates? Here are 5 reasons you should watch," 26 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But the plucky band of survivors at Detroit’s number three automaker, led by Lee Iaccoca and his rough-and-tumble gang of refugees (and castoffs) . . Royal Ford, BostonGlobe.com, "Auto executive Lee Iacocca, who rescued Chrysler and helped launch the Ford Mustang, dies at 94," 3 July 2019 That meant partying – sometimes, with a rough-and-tumble crowd. CBS News, ""To the families we owe justice": Inside NCIS' relentless quest to solve two cold case murders of Navy dependents," 3 July 2019 The Japanese automaker had seen profits and dividends tumble amid a high-profile scandal involving its former chairman Carlos Ghosn. Washington Post, "Nissan governance steps, board win shareholders’ approval," 25 June 2019 The stock market tumble after the government reported an uptick in wages last month suggests just how worried investors on Wall Street are that the Federal Reserve might start increasing interest rates more aggressively to forestall inflation. Eduardo Porter, New York Times, "Come the Recession, Don’t Count on That Safety Net," 20 Feb. 2018 Zuckerberg took a big tumble from a year ago, falling 36 spots to No. Rex Crum, The Mercury News, "Glassdoor says this Bay Area boss is tops in the country," 18 June 2019 Speaking of digital disruption, finance certainly seems teed up for a tumble. Alan Murray, Fortune, "Tech Regulation's Deft-Hand Problem: CEO Daily," 17 June 2019 Buzz60 Americans are scrambling to refinance mortgages as borrowing costs tumble. Yan Zhang, USA TODAY, "Mortgage applications surge on refinances as as rates hit 21-month low," 12 June 2019 Spiral bone fractures don’t come from tumbles, but yanks. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Speaking for baby Rose: How a Baltimore detective found his purpose investigating child abuse," 6 June 2019

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for tumble


Middle English, frequentative of tumben to dance, from Old English tumbian; akin to Old High German tūmōn to reel

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tumble cart


Statistics for tumble

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for tumble

The first known use of tumble was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for tumble



English Language Learners Definition of tumble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to fall down suddenly and quickly
: to fall forward while turning over
: to fall or drop suddenly in amount, value, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of tumble (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of falling or tumbling
: an athletic movement in which you roll or turn your body across the ground or through the air


tum·​ble | \ ˈtəm-bəl How to pronounce tumble (audio) \
tumbled; tumbling

Kids Definition of tumble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to fall suddenly and helplessly He tumbled off the bridge.
2 : to fall while rolling or bouncing Boxes tumbled down the stairs.
3 : to move or go in a hurried or confused way The children tumbled out of the bus.
4 : to toss together into a confused mass
5 : to perform gymnastic feats of rolling and turning
6 : to suffer a sudden downward turn or defeat The value of gold tumbled.



Kids Definition of tumble (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of falling often while rolling or bouncing Peter gave the dice a quick tumble.— Chris Van Allsburg, Jumanji
2 : a messy state or collection

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More from Merriam-Webster on tumble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tumble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tumble

Spanish Central: Translation of tumble

Nglish: Translation of tumble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tumble for Arabic Speakers

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