tum·​ble | \ˈtəm-bəl \
tumbled; tumbling\ˈtəm-​b(ə-​)liŋ \

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

b : rumple, disorder

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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Move It Fridays Every Friday: Play for better health yoga, balance, dance, tumbling and more for toddlers. 11:30 a.m.-noon. Mary Lou Cruz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Davie area events July 18-28," 14 July 2018 The Shanghai Composite index tumbled 2.3 percent to 2,761.90. Washington Post, "Stocks tumble as Asia braces for more US tariffs on China," 11 July 2018 Soybeans on the Chicago Board of Trade tumbled 14 percent last month due to the escalating trade tensions. Bloomberg, Time, "This American Cargo Ship Is Racing to China to Beat a Huge New Tariff on the Soybeans it's Carrying," 5 July 2018 Shares of Walgreens and Rite Aid tumbled more than 9 percent, while CVS Health dropped 6.6 percent. New York Times, "Amazon to Buy Online Pharmacy PillPack, Jumping Into the Drug Business," 28 June 2018 Permits to build tumbled 4.6 percent in May, but permits are running 8.9 percent higher year-to-date. Josh Boak, USA TODAY, "US housing starts jumped 5 percent in May off pop in Midwest building," 19 June 2018 Sales at stores open at least a year, a key gauge of a retailer's health, tumbled 11.9 percent. Houston Chronicle, "Sears to close another 72 stores as sales plunge," 31 May 2018 The blue-chip index tumbled 1.5 percent Thursday to slip below its 200-day moving average. Lu Wang, Bloomberg.com, "Dow's Best Technical Run in 30 Years Is in Jeopardy," 3 May 2018 But that was still notably better than what has happened in the U.S.: Auto sales tumbled about 5 percent last year to just over 17 million, marking the first downturn since the U.S. emerged from the Great Recession. NBC News, "President Xi's pledge to lower tariffs is just one of many obstacles for U.S. carmakers," 11 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For your pho fix, hit the rough-and-tumble Phở Gia Truyền, where a giant cauldron of beef broth simmers up front. Peter Jon Lindberg, Condé Nast Traveler, "Hanoi, Time and Again," 20 Nov. 2018 But for now, and despite occasional poaching, sanctioned shooting and rough-and-tumble human politics, the wolves were doing pretty well. New York Times, "Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf Scientist?," 5 July 2018 Almost all the big outsourcers have seen their share price tumble in the past year, with a spate of profit warnings. The Economist, "Britain’s outsourcing model, copied around the world, is in trouble," 28 June 2018 Still, some Democrats seem to think rough-and-tumble can work. Callum Borchers, Washington Post, "‘It’s vile’: Chelsea Clinton rips tweet by former top aide to Hillary Clinton," 9 May 2018 The theory is that Harden is too reliant on drawing fouls that are called in the regular season but ignored in the more rough-and-tumble playoffs. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "Mythbusting the #PlayoffHarden fallacy about Rockets star," 1 May 2018 Two good rough-and-tumble tavernas are Kodylenia and Xeri Elia; a third, Papagalos, mixes terrific cocktails and has views of the harbor. Alexander Lobrano, Town & Country, "The Ultimate Travel Guide to Mykonos, Hydra, and Santorini," 5 June 2017 During a concert in Pendleton, Oregon, Blake Shelton took a tumble. Temi Adebowale, Country Living, "Blake Shelton Falls on Stage at a Concert, Later Jokes He’d Been ‘Drinking a Lot’," 16 July 2018 In the video, Shelton can be seen tripping over something on stage before taking a tumble. Sasha Savitsky, Fox News, "Blake Shelton admits to drinking 'a lot' after falling on stage," 16 July 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tumble

Dictionary Entries near tumble






tumble cart


Statistics for tumble

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tumble

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on tumble

What made you want to look up tumble? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!