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 And unless Randle has miraculously become a long-distance sharpshooter, his percentage is likely to tumble quite a bit. New York Times, "Julius Randle Is Causing Something Rare: Excitement for the Knicks," 30 Dec. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The playing field becomes a static stage against which crazy numbers of athletes scrum and tumble. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "Photos teem with energy and athletes at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery," 18 Feb. 2021 The narrator’s endless, directionless tumble in time and language is interrupted by the hard stop of a very offline tragedy. Jordan Kisner, The Atlantic, "The Wicked Virtuosity of Patricia Lockwood," 13 Feb. 2021 Expect a high of 53 on Wednesday and 51 on Thursday before temperatures begin to really take a tumble. Taylor Pettaway, San Antonio Express-News, "UDPATE: Light freezing rain and sleet are possible for San Antonio tonight, NWS warns," 11 Feb. 2021 After a Christmas Eve day near 80 degrees, temperatures are forecast to take a tumble overnight into the 40s in some inland areas and 50s along the coast. Chris Perkins, sun-sentinel.com, "Baby, it’ll be cold outside: South Florida may see its chilliest Christmas in two decades," 22 Dec. 2020 The Cowboys have struggled mightily in those situations this season, which has caused the red-zone efficiency to take a tumble as well. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: 3 things we learned from Cowboys-49ers, including why this was Kellen Moore’s best-called game of 2020," 21 Dec. 2020 Bold patterns and colors help your buddies find you in the lift line and ensure those who take a serious tumble won’t blend in with rocks or trees and can be easily spotted by rescuers. Rebecca Malinsky, WSJ, "The Ultimate Guide to Ski Style," 11 Dec. 2020 The latter ensures this smart vacuum won’t take a tumble down the stairs. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "These robot vacuums are on sale for Amazon Prime Day," 14 Oct. 2020 The Tigers got pretty thoroughly handled by Mississippi State, 44-34, and will surely take a deserved tumble out of the Top 10. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: The Big 12 is in big trouble and other takeaways from college football's Week 4," 27 Sep. 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

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tumble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tumble. Accessed 27 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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