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

The Borsa Istanbul 100 stock index dropped 5.7%, its worst day since July 2016 and Turkey’s dollar bonds tumbled while the cost of insuring exposure to Turkey’s debt jumped to its highest levels since October. David Gauthier-villars, WSJ, "Turkish Markets in Turmoil as Key Elections Loom," 27 Mar. 2019 Oil prices were dragged lower Friday by a tumbling stock market and mounting worries about the global economy. Christopher Alessi, WSJ, "Oil Slides With Stocks Amid Global Economy Fears," 22 Mar. 2019 The tumbling peso has pushed up prices for fuel and, in turn, transportation costs. Almudena Calatrava, Fox News, "Argentines seek soup kitchens, barter markets amid crisis," 10 Sep. 2018 In a now viral video posted by her mom, a Houston girl wearing a University of Central Florida cheerleading uniform tells the one-handed linebacker good luck in the NFL Draft and shows that her disability isn't preventing her from tumbling. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "No one gets the short end in college athletics more than a cheerleader," 8 June 2018 The garden facade, however, has a real sense of Italianate drama, with terraced levels and flights of steps flanking a tumbling waterfall, and stone obelisks wrapped in crimson roses. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "A Visit to Atlanta's Historic Swan House, Where Whimsy and Chintz Still Reign," 27 Apr. 2018 The bear instills the inmates with his love of marmalade, even winning over the rough-and-tumble prison chef (Brendan Gleeson). Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Animals / Film In praise of the acting in Paddington 2," 31 Jan. 2018 Circus camp activities include silk climbing, the trapeze, the Spanish web (a rope and spinning activity), Lyra (aerial hoops), Diablo (Chinese yo-yo), the unicycle, juggling, plate spinning, tumbling and acrobatics and more. Staff Report, chicagotribune.com, "Circus camp teaches kids more than about clowning around: 'They're building their confidence'," 18 June 2018 Wochit The economy has shifted into high gear, with corporate profits surging, bankruptcies and foreclosures tumbling and the national unemployment rate easing to 3.8 percent, an 18-year low. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "How to keep on top of your personal finances in a growing economy," 10 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Wind gusts could send the spacecraft into a dangerous tumble during descent, or the parachute could get tangled. Marcia Dunn, The Seattle Times, "Mars revisited: NASA spacecraft days away from risky landing," 21 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, a spike in gasoline prices—the thing that most often prompts consumers to suddenly dip into savings—doesn’t seem like a threat following crude oil’s recent tumble. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "Cross U.S. Consumers Off the Worry List," 14 Dec. 2018 Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy have undoubtedly been frustrated by their recent skid, which has seen the club tumble to ninth in the Western Conference. Avi Creditor, SI.com, "WATCH: Zlatan Ibrahimovic Sent Off for Slapping Opponent in the Head," 21 May 2018 Even those who pride themselves in never panicking must give pause after just watching Dow Jones industrial average tumble and threaten at one point Friday to turn in the worst week since the financial crisis in late 2008. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Wall Street swings down 500, up 500 Friday ... so what's next?," 10 Feb. 2018 Covering her chest was a tumble of jewelry and ornaments—beads, leather, copper, seashells, bells, and glinting studs. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 From tumbles of auburn waves to flaming rubicund curls to blown out brunette, the actress carries off each chameleonic moment with an ease that forces onlookers to question whether perhaps this is her natural color. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "This Rising Star Reveals a New Blonde Bombshell Hair Color at Louis Vuitton," 26 Oct. 2018 The plot is intriguing, but what really keeps the book humming along is Balliett’s rich, playful language, deployed in a gorgeous tumble of metaphors, allusions and analogies. chicagotribune.com, "'Out of the Wild Night': With a splish and a splot and a shree, here comes a ghostly whodunit with heart," 20 Mar. 2018 My client collects a lot of stuff, so having this tumble of boxes that can be vertical or horizontal allows her to play around with the arrangement and change it as her collection changes. Barbara King, House Beautiful, "Charles O. Schwarz III on Designing a Cozy Home With Scandinavian Style," 21 Jan. 2013

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

9 Apr 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 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

Comments on tumble

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marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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