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

On Saturday, Wilson made a tumbling interception, hopped up and return it for a touchdown. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Mack Wilson looking forward to Alabama reunion at his first NFL preseason game," 8 Aug. 2019 In today’s statement, the Chinese regulator resorted to the soothing power of poetic metaphor to tell the story of the tumbling exchange rate. Natasha Frost, Quartz, "Chinese officials take solace in poetry after the yuan hits 11-year low," 5 Aug. 2019 On Wednesday, Edwards’ tenure with the Cubs came to a tumbling end. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "Cubs send struggling reliever Carl Edwards Jr. to the Padres in a trade-deadline deal: ‘It was time for that change of scenery’," 31 July 2019 That man was Padre Flor María Rigoni, an Italian priest with a tumbling white beard, who dedicated his life, at age 11, to serving migrants worldwide. Wendy Fry, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padre Rigoni lectures at UCSD on history of migration," 30 July 2019 Such extensive netting, installed to save fans from searing line drives more than tumbling outfielders, is the first of its kind in Major League Baseball. New York Times, "‘We Needed to Do Something’: White Sox Unveil Extended Protective Netting," 23 July 2019 Nolan Arenado, the Rockies' star third baseman ended the game with a tumbling catch to his right. Bobby Nightengale, Cincinnati.com, "Defensive mistakes add up in the Cincinnati Reds' loss to the Colorado Rockies," 14 July 2019 After a double steal put runners at second and third against Cleveland reliever Brad Hand, White Sox catcher James McCann made a tumbling catch on Mike Moustakas' twisting foul pop to end the inning. baltimoresun.com, "MLB All-Star Game: American League holds on for seventh straight victory, 4-3," 10 July 2019 After a double steal put runners at second and third against Cleveland reliever Brad Hand, White Sox catcher James McCann made a tumbling catch on Mike Moustakas’ twisting foul pop to end the inning. Ben Walker, courant.com, "Bieber, AL pitchers quiet NL’s big bats for All-Star win," 10 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As penance for dashing a child’s hopes, a rough-and-tumble hockey player must serve time as a genuine tooth fairy. Los Angeles Times, "Here are the feature and TV films airing the week of Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019," 11 Aug. 2019 The family has a trailer full of rough-and-tumble little boys and a bunch of chickens. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Honeyland Is a Stinging Allegory for Man-Made Disaster," 9 Aug. 2019 The Kitchen follows three women living in rough-and-tumble early Ed Koch-era Hell’s Kitchen whose husbands, members of a local Irish gang, have just been tossed into prison. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "The Kitchen Wastes a Sizzling Idea and Terrific Ingredients," 9 Aug. 2019 Purple asters, face-size Queen Anne’s lace, pink morning glories, blurs of yellow, bursts of blooming cacti, and tumbles of vulgar magenta bougainvillea. Frances Mayes, National Geographic, "Discover Italy’s most delicious secret," 11 July 2019 Once again, controversy over a VAR decision became a huge talking point after the game, as the USA were given a second spot-kick after Rose Lavelle's tumble in the box, despite minimal contact. SI.com, "Women's World Cup Roundup: USA Squeeze Past Spain as Canada Fall to Sweden," 25 June 2019 Great thickets of verbiage tumble forth as Virgil Abloh thinks out loud in long, run-on sentences—often doubling back to critique himself or to add further thoughts or rephrase. Jonathan Van Meter, Vogue, "“My Job Is To Be a Spirit Leader”: Behind the Scenes with Virgil Abloh," 14 May 2019 The MSCI Emerging Market Index sank 2%, hitting the lowest in more than eight months with its fifth straight decline and the largest tumble in more than 12 weeks. Fortune, "Stock Markets Are Falling Around the World as Fears of a U.S.-China Trade War Grow," 19 June 2018 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

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


Statistics for tumble

Last Updated

13 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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of or relating to the heavens

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