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

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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

Similar anxieties sent stocks around the world tumbling in late 2015 and early 2016, with copper slumping below $2 a pound. David Hodari, WSJ, "Metals Slide Deepens as Trade Fears Escalate," 11 July 2018 Kluge did not say what happened that sent the man tumbling down the ravine, nor how steep the fall was. Teri Figueroa, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Trucker found at bottom of ravine, stuck for more than a day and unable to call for help," 10 July 2018 As a maestro of monetary policy, Greenspan didn't want to send the stock market tumbling on his words. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "How can Fed make investors uncertain? U-M professor says it's obvious," 22 June 2018 The news sent the stock of Japan Display, a key supplier of iPhone LCD screens, tumbling by as much as 20% at one point. Alan Murray, Fortune, "Italian Turmoil, Spanish Turmoil, North Korea: CEO Daily for May 29, 2018," 29 May 2018 Doro watched in shock as the rock sent his friend tumbling down the mountain like a rag doll. The Atlantic, "Is Social Media Luring Hikers Into 'Death Gully'?," 17 May 2018 An April 1 New York Times article alleging possible antitrust violations sent Live Nation's stock tumbling 13 percent, prompting a race between attorneys to certify a class-action lawsuit on behalf of shareholders. Dave Brooks, Billboard, "Taylor Swift Gets Ticketmaster to Delist Resale Tickets for First Leg of Reputation Tour in Final Sales Push," 3 May 2018 But after a financial crisis that sent home values tumbling, and with home prices now reaching astronomical levels due to a housing shortage, things have changed a lot just in the past decade. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "To buy or to rent: The great homeownership debate," 20 Apr. 2018 The Pelicans play on the road against the Golden State Warriors (57-22) Saturday night and a loss could send them tumbling down the standings. William Guillory, NOLA.com, "Clippers eliminated from playoff contention after loss to Nuggets," 7 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Rough and tumble, tenacious and pernicious: weeds are the archenemy of the gardener’s law and order. Molly Marquand, Good Housekeeping, "8 Weeds You Should Actually Let Grow In Your Yard," 28 July 2016 Wilfried Zaha took a tumble in the Watford box just before half-time and spent the rest of the match being called a cheat. SI.com, "Richarlison to Manchester United Is Less of a Pipe Dream, More of a Late-Night Cheese Nightmare," 21 Apr. 2018 The tumble followed overnight weakness in U.S. technology stocks, on fears of ratcheting tech-sector tensions between Beijing and Washington. Joanne Chiu, WSJ, "Trade Tensions Are Up, Asian Stocks Are Down," 4 July 2018 Sitting under the relentless blue lights and crystalline shimmer in this new world under the sea, the sensation’s gone from disco to aquarium, surrounded by an inchoate tumble of pretty things. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Review: Reborn Rebelle now San Antonio’s finest seafood restaurant," 14 June 2018 An unframed, Impressionistic oil painting of an orange-bonnet-wearing woman hangs on the wall, along with a tumble of cake molds strung together like a giant charm bracelet. Elyse Inamine, Bon Appetit, "The Mysterious World of Burrow, a Japanese Bakery Hiding In an Office Lobby," 13 June 2018 Along with a tumble of gelled curls and an extended smokey eye, the classically coordinated details transformed a less-is-more moment into one worthy of a modern day femme fatale. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Rihanna Has a Femme Fatale Beauty Secret to Feeling More Confident in Lingerie," 11 May 2018 As such, most observers are pointing to corruption, political infighting and fear of a collapse of the Iranian nuclear deal as major factors in the rial's tumble. Sean Savage, Jewish Journal, "Iran's plummeting currency reflects country's economic, military concerns," 17 Apr. 2018 However, HISD’s reading scores took the second-biggest tumble out of the 21 districts. Jacob Carpenter, Houston Chronicle, "Texas, HISD get lower marks in reading, math on ‘Nation’s Report Card’," 10 Apr. 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.

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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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Dictionary Entries near tumble






tumble cart


Phrases Related to tumble

take a tumble

tumble to

Statistics for tumble

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

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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 \
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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Comments on tumble

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