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 Federal Reserve said Friday that industrial output, which includes factories, utilities and mines, rose 0.4 percent in May, after tumbling 0.4 percent in April. Washington Post, "Consumer spending increases; drug companies sue over TV ad rule," 14 June 2019 Capture the motion of dancing fountains, quirky trams clattering up steep streets, and tumbling acrobats at the Chapitô circus school. National Geographic, "Lisbon High School Photography Workshop," 12 June 2019 In a red-meat speech to a red-cap-wearing crowd of 700 Iowa Republicans in West Des Moines, Mr. Trump argued, without evidence, that the United States could tumble into a state of decline like Venezuela under the wrong leadership. Katie Glueck, New York Times, "Trump and Biden Get Personal in Iowa Skirmish," 11 June 2019 Even when a tumbling puck from defenseman Brandon Carlo beat goalie Jordan Binnington to put Boston ahead 2–0 in the third, a Blues comeback push seemed possible. Alex Prewitt, SI.com, "Bruins’ Core Steps Up to Counterpunch Blues, Take Stanley Cup Final the Distance," 10 June 2019 Eventually, a mountain range will rise up, or a sea will open, and that something will tumble down. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Interview: The Once and Future Moon," 10 June 2019 The country was tumbling into some black hole of homosexual panic, and getting out seemed to be the only sane option. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "How L.G.B.T. Couples in Russia Decide Whether to Leave the Country," 6 June 2019 Alberto slid and appeared to kick Stewart in the right ankle, and Stewart tumbled into the wall. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles lose three to injury Wednesday as DJ Stewart, Pedro Severino, Jonathan Villar leave game," 6 June 2019 Investors dumped stock funds in May at a record clip as trade disputes sent markets tumbling. Asjylyn Loder, WSJ, "Investors Took May Vacation From Stock Funds," 4 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Vogueworld Gigi Hadid Revives a Granny Accessory 8 Slides Is Gigi Hadid scared that her sunglasses will fall from her face and tumble to the floor? Vogue, "Gigi Hadid Revives a Granny Accessory," 24 Apr. 2019 Walper says that unless stock markets tumble this year, the growth in millionaire households is likely to continue. USA TODAY, "Stock prices, housing help U.S. add 700,000 new millionaires in 2017," 22 Mar. 2018 Fellow cryptocurrency Ethereum also pushed back above $1,000 after succumbing to the dip, while Ripple prices briefly rose above $2 after a tumble—resulting in a 14% net rise on Wednesday. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "After a Terrible Start to 2018, Bitcoin Rebounds Above $11,000," 18 Jan. 2018 Tall cars feel tall—even crossovers that are built on car platforms as opposed to the more rough-and-tumble SUVs of years gone by. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "2019 Chevy Blazer Test Drive: What Happened When GM Tried To Make the Crossover Cool," 4 Feb. 2019 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

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

18 Jun 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

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