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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Thanks to a set of intelligent sensors, the vacuum won't crash into obstacles or accidentally tumble down a flight of stairs. Amy Schulman, PEOPLE.com, 20 June 2022 The price of oil, the principal cost in gasoline, can still shoot up or tumble depending on events halfway around the world. New York Times, 5 June 2022 Don’t expect Styles’ music to tumble from the charts anytime soon. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 27 May 2022 The firm bet that shares of GameStop would tumble but was battered when retail investors took the other side and sent the stock surging. Reuters, CNN, 19 May 2022 Checkered medical past likely caused potential Day 2 pick to tumble out of the draft entirely. Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 Apr. 2022 Those developers that managed to do so painted a sober picture of their challenges as new home sales continue to decline, selling prices tumble and funding remains hard to come by. Cao Li, WSJ, 7 Apr. 2022 Roughed up and dazed, and with a broken rib, Denis was able to wriggle free from his bindings and tumble out of the van. Tom Sancton, Town & Country, 31 Mar. 2022 Ian Shepherdson, chief economist and founder of research consulting firm Pantheon Macroeconomics, predicts existing home sales will tumble 25% between February and the end of summer. Chris Morris, Fortune, 22 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In rough-and-tumble style, Araki sends his two gay protagonists, both living with HIV, on a winding, whirling road trip into the heart of America after one of them kills a police officer. Kyle Turner, BostonGlobe.com, 1 June 2022 Read on for more stories about this rough-and-tumble era of Chicago, and don’t forget to pick up your copy of our new book commemorating the 175th anniversary of the Chicago Tribune, with more than 100 historic front pages. Chicago Tribune Staff, Chicago Tribune, 29 May 2022 Jay Stone grew up in the rough-and-tumble world of Chicago ward politics, the son of a longtime city alderman. Megan O’matz, ProPublica, 25 May 2022 The Doobies grew out of the Bay Area biker scene at the Chateau Liberté, a rough-and-tumble roadhouse in the Santa Cruz Mountains with a loyal clientele of Hells Angels. Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2022 Nora’s sister Libby insists on taking her on a month-long vacation to Sunshine Falls, a rustic town where Nora can find her own love story with a rough-and-tumble local (preferably a lumberjack). Usa Today Staff, USA TODAY, 7 May 2022 Primary day will bring to a close perhaps the most rough-and-tumble party primary in U.S. politics since the 2016 GOP presidential primary that Trump himself won. Fox News, 3 May 2022 Doe also examines matters of faith during a rough-and-tumble time that, in some ways, is not all that different from today. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Apr. 2022 Perennial action hero Bruce Willis headlined the 1998 space movie, playing Harry S. Stamper, leader of the rough-and-tumble crew of newbie astronauts. Angelique Jackson, Variety, 8 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of tumble was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

26 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tumble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tumble. Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for tumble


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 As she walked on, distracted, she tripped on a rock, tumbling hard to the ground …— Kelly Barnhill, The Girl Who Drank the Moon
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

More from Merriam-Webster on tumble

Nglish: Translation of tumble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tumble for Arabic Speakers


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