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

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 California opened the season 4-0 SU/2-2 ATS, and spent time in the Top 25 rankings before tumbling out. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "USC at California odds: Trojans look to stay hot at Berkeley," 16 Nov. 2019 Numerous top-flight records came tumbling down on a drizzly Friday night on the south-coast as the Midlands outfit hammered Southampton on their own turf, Ayoze Perez joining Vardy in grabbing a hat-trick against the sorry Saints. SI.com, "Crystal Palace vs Leicester City: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 31 Oct. 2019 But the stories tumbling out this week show it’s far from eradicated. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Pregnancy discrimination continues, 41 years after US ban," 12 Oct. 2019 Within weeks, other powerful men saw their walls of privilege and protection come tumbling down amid the march of the #MeToo movement. Author: Paul Farhi, Anchorage Daily News, "Ronan Farrow overcame spies, intimidation to break some of the biggest stories of the #MeToo era," 11 Oct. 2019 That laugh comes tumbling out again when he’s asked to find the thread between Hollywood’s Cliff, a sort of beach-boy Lebowski with a singular gift for sudden violence, and Ad Astra’s Maj. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "It's a Brad, Brad, Brad, Brad World," 16 Sep. 2019 The words come tumbling out and are more functional than lyrical. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "‘Seasons’ gently and movingly showcases the human circle of life | Review," 14 Sep. 2019 But the black shroud of doom came tumbling down yesterday in the most improbable victory in the Browns’ new era. Rich Exner, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Browns thrilling 2002 OT win over Tennessee Titans: Browns flashback," 3 Sep. 2019 Within seconds, a small baby tumbles out onto the bed and only then does a man wearing surgical gloves enter the cell. oregonlive, "‘Nobody cared’: A woman gave birth alone in a jail cell after cries for help were ignored, lawsuit says," 3 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This isn't the first time the DWTS judge has taken a tumble during the competition series Carrie Ann Inaba has put a new meaning to the phrase, rolling on the floor laughing. Ashley Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "Carrie Ann Inaba Falls Off Her Chair During Disney-Themed Dancing with the Stars Episode," 15 Oct. 2019 The Wildcats, with already 25 percent of their district homes games played, tumble to 0-3, sharing the basement with South Houston. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Dobie teams split important contests with Kingwood Friday night," 21 Dec. 2019 Still, that has not made the Spartans’ rapid tumble any easier to handle. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Mark Dantonio faces hard decisions in order for Michigan State football to return to glory," 2 Dec. 2019 First came the actress's trademark tumble of brunette curls, brushed up, appealingly rumpled, raked deeply to one side, and left to fall freeform toward her waist. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Zendaya Makes the Case for a Red Carpet Ab Reveal," 29 Nov. 2019 Those tumbles -- one in May and two in October -- left the former president, age 95, with a broken hip, a fractured pelvis and 14 stitches on his forehead. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, "Jimmy Carter is home from the hospital. What will his recovery look like?," 28 Nov. 2019 As coal prices tumble and bankruptcies rise, a few U.S. miners are still pushing ahead with plans to expand. Fortune, "Why U.S. Miners Are Still Digging New Mines as Coal Prices Plunge," 12 Nov. 2019 Indianapolis could climb into the low 50s Thursday during the day before temperatures tumble and few snowflakes become possible that night. Matthew Cappucci, chicagotribune.com, "Trick or treat? A region-by-region Halloween weather forecast," 31 Oct. 2019 Such a swing would put this temperature tumble on the map for one of the largest two-day swings on record, particularly if clouds and snow are able to clear out on Thursday night. Chris Bianchi, The Denver Post, "Denver weather: Temperatures likely to drop more than 60 degrees in 36 hours this week," 8 Oct. 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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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

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tumble.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tumbled. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for tumble


How to pronounce tumble (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tumble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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