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

Verb 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. Noun 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 But plenty of other Wall Street gamers rolled out the welcome-to-reality warning and one major player claimed that GameStop is likely to implode and tumble to the $20-a-share range. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "GameStop stock goes wild on Wall Street and we can't stop watching," 22 Jan. 2021 Despite such concerns, many economists do not expect the U.S. to tumble back into a recession. Stephen Gandel, CBS News, "Economists fear a "double dip" recession is coming soon," 26 Nov. 2020 More names and images tumble forth on social media every few hours, as Internet sleuths work to expose the rallygoers living near them. Washington Post, "A small town seethes after learning one of its own joined the Capitol’s mob," 16 Jan. 2021 If states follow Azar’s instructions, efforts to protect front-line essential workers — people who cannot work from home and whose work puts them at greater risk of contracting Covid — will tumble further back in the prioritization scheme. Helen Branswell, STAT, "U.S. plan to expand access to Covid-19 vaccine likely sets up new debacles," 12 Jan. 2021 After losing at No. 23 Michigan State earlier this week, 15 Rutgers will surely tumble in the polls. cleveland, "Duane Washington scores 17, Ohio State basketball tops No. 15 Rutgers 79-68," 9 Jan. 2021 After losing at No. 23 Michigan State earlier this week, Rutgers will surely tumble in the polls. Matt Sugam, Star Tribune, "Washington scores 17, Ohio State tops No. 15 Rutgers 79-68," 9 Jan. 2021 Traveler numbers will likely plummet 61% in 2020 to levels last seen 17 years ago, IATA predicts, while passenger revenue will tumble to $191 billion from 2019’s $612 billion. Fortune, "Airlines face $157 billion in losses as COVID is expected to wipe out even more flights in the year ahead," 24 Nov. 2020 If the shares do indeed tumble, the short seller can later buy the stock at a lower price, repay the brokerage loan and close out the position at a profit. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, "'A hit job': Nikola attacks report from investment firm but doesn't address fraud claims," 11 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In fall, the ginkgo leaves tumble down as elegant yellow fans. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, "Living in New York’s Unloved Neighborhood," 8 Feb. 2021 Now that the pandemic has caused values of hotels, retail properties and even many office buildings to tumble, investors are lining up to cash out of these funds. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Capital Note: Betting on a Biden Binge," 3 Nov. 2020 Now that the pandemic has caused values of hotels, retail properties and even many office buildings to tumble, investors are lining up to cash out of these funds. Peter Grant And Esther Fung, WSJ, "Real Estate Slump Forcing Big Funds to Delay Investor Redemption Requests," 3 Nov. 2020 Victor Oladipo takes another tumble after being hit in the face by Jae Crowder on a rebound. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, "NBA playoffs 2020: Heat beat Pacers 113-101 in Game 1," 18 Aug. 2020 Cody the dog took an unfortunate tumble Tuesday, falling about 100 feet down a cliff near the Muskegon River in Newaygo. Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan dog falls 100 feet down cliff near Muskegon River, rescued by DNR team," 14 Jan. 2021 The fit was much better when Claude Julien, who spent most of his own modest playing career as a rough-and-tumble defenseman in the American Hockey League, took over as coach in Chara’s second year. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Literally and figuratively, Zdeno Chara was a giant gift to Bruins fans," 1 Jan. 2021 While Timberland boots are designed to withstand the rough and tumble of heavy wear, they’re often worn for fashion. Sian Babish, chicagotribune.com, "The best Timberland boot for women," 23 Dec. 2020 Growing up, the rough-and-tumble brothers engaged in mock battles, flinging each other off sand dunes. Washington Post, "I jumped in the icy ocean, grateful for my sobriety — especially during covid," 17 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for tumble

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tumble

Last Updated

14 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tumble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tumble. Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.

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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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