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
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

Shares of parent company Edison International have tumbled more than 20 percent since the fire started. Jonathan J. Cooper, The Seattle Times, "Fires put pressure on California utilities despite new law," 12 Nov. 2018 Balance: Investors have doubts about the cartel’s plan to balance the market, especially as tumbling stock markets create fears of global recession that could reduce demand more. Neanda Salvaterra, WSJ, "U.S. Oil Prices Fall to 18-Month Low as Wall Street Tumbles," 24 Dec. 2018 That allowed the gator to tumble out of the vehicle. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "Florida alligator caught on video head-butting trapper in brazen effort to break free," 2 Oct. 2018 While sitting on the sidelines at the polo match, Princess Charlotte resourcefully used the grassy landscape to practice her headstands and show off some tumbling moves. Cady Lang, Time, "The Most Adorable Princess Charlotte and Prince George Moments at Prince William's Polo Match," 11 June 2018 Arriving in a rough-and-tumble cultural and political moment, the film is being received by many as a soothing beacon. Mark Olsen, latimes.com, "Indie Focus: For the whole family with 'Hereditary,' 'Won't You Be My Neighbor' and 'Hearts Beat Loud'," 10 June 2018 The same credits sequence that replaced writer and performer names with in-jokes seemed lazier this time around; Wade Wilson’s exploding body sending a disembodied bird-flipping hand tumbling toward the camera felt hackneyed and a little tryhard. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "We Need to Talk About That Deadpool 2 Credits Scene," 21 May 2018 The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note tumbled to its lowest level in three months, reflecting rising prices as purchasers sought the safety of government bonds. Riva Gold, WSJ, "Cash Is a Star in Rocky Year for Global Markets," 4 Dec. 2018 Warren swung back, connecting a single blow above Magnuson’s left eye that sent Magnuson tumbling to the ground, according to reports. Alex Horton, The Seattle Times, "A man hurled racist slurs and a punch at a FedEx driver — then died after he was punched back," 21 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Many of the bumps and scrapes that come from a scooter tumble are minor, and there is no good way to track them. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Electric scooters’ sudden invasion of American cities, explained," 7 Sep. 2018 On Friday morning, the year's second British royal wedding went off without a hitch, only for the super-strong winds to cause two tiny tumbles on the steps of St. George's Chapel. Emily Wang, Teen Vogue, "Princess Charlotte and a Royal Pageboy Fell on the Way to Princess Eugenie's Wedding," 12 Oct. 2018 Marlins rookie starter Elieser Hernandez (0-5), who has yet to notch a major league victory in five career starts, recovered from a hard second-inning tumble on the mound that was ruled a balk to set up runners on second and third with one out. Harvey Fialkov, azcentral, "Zack Godley's curveball helps Diamondbacks fend off Marlins in win," 26 June 2018 Only four Dogs have suffered losses in 2018 after factoring in dividends: GE, IBM and energy giants Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. , whose tumble has coincided with a steep drop in oil prices. Corrie Driebusch, WSJ, "In the Stock Market, It’s a Dog-Eat-Dow World," 23 Dec. 2018 Since drones have four rotors, if one of them fails the imbalance sends the machine into a high rpm tumble. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "Why It's So Incredibly Hard to Attach a Parachute to a Drone," 29 Nov. 2018 That, combined with a gust of wind, caused the group to take a small tumble at the top of the steps. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Princess Charlotte Couldn’t Stop Waving at Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s Wedding," 12 Oct. 2018 Princess Charlotte and pageboy Louis de Givenchy took separate tumbles at Princess Eugenie’s royal wedding to Jack Brooksbank on Friday morning. Megan Friedman, Harper's BAZAAR, "Princess Charlotte and a Pageboy Fell Heading to the Chapel for Princess Eugenie’s Wedding," 12 Oct. 2018 The town of Mesa saw trees 6 inches thick snap and tumble, while streets became streams amid heavy rain and flooding near Phoenix City Hall. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, "‘One of the most incredible sights’: Monster dust storm sweeps across Southern Arizona," 10 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.

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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

15 Jan 2019

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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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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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