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 But only a few weeks later, as vaccine supply begins to outpace demand in many places and daily vaccination rates tumble across the U.S., states, cities and counties are following the donut chain’s lead. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "From Free Beer to $100 Payments, States Are Incentivizing COVID-19 Vaccination. Will It Work?," 5 May 2021 Voices tumble through your bars: chatter, laughter, disinformation. New York Times, "When the Pandemic Came to Sullivan Prison," 6 Apr. 2021 More dominoes could tumble, reshaping the draft panorama anew. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "2021 NFL mock draft: How do 49ers' trade up to No. 3, free agency aftermath affect first round?," 27 Mar. 2021 The tax revenue of large cities could tumble as fewer workers patronize downtown bars, restaurants and coffee shops. Tom Krisher, chicagotribune.com, "Ford Motor Co. tells 30,000 employees they can work from home indefinitely," 17 Mar. 2021 Just as important, the rear door frame is taller, a great help when leaning in to pull a child from a safety seat, or when a full-scale adult wants to tumble in. Mark Ewing, Forbes, "Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo Turbo S First Look: Porsche Builds A Wicked Electric Super-Sportwagen," 4 Mar. 2021 One serious shake — like the 1933 Long Beach quake, whose destructiveness changed building codes — and brick buildings tumble down as easily as the sugar-cube California mission models that schoolkids used to assemble in fourth grade. Los Angeles Times, "Mission Revival, Craftsman, storybook — L.A.’s home styles explained," 13 Apr. 2021 Acrobatic bars about trapping out of literal hunger and committing ruthless attacks tumble out of him with curt precision. Mankaprr Conteh, Rolling Stone, "Benny the Butcher Delivers Careful Street Lore on ‘The Plugs I Met 2’," 24 Mar. 2021 Then, energy companies that overextended themselves tumble into bankruptcy. New York Times, "Why $4-a-Gallon Gas May Be Coming Your Way This Summer," 11 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bottoms’ tenure has been a mix of rough-and-tumble City Hall politics and an ever-brightening national spotlight for her beyond the city. Bill Barrow And Jeff Amy, chicagotribune.com, "In surprise, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms won’t seek a second term: ‘Leadership sometimes is about passing off the baton’," 7 May 2021 The mayor’s tolerance for crime was confirmation of his reputation as the street populist who still resides in his rough-and-tumble Central neighborhood. Jordan Heller, The New Republic, "He’s a Big City Mayor. His Grandsons Are Suspected Gang Members.," 3 May 2021 Everyone is talking about the swift tumble of Archegos Capital Management and subsequent plummet of Credit Suisse and Nomura stock prices. Erik Sverdrup, Fortune, "Archegos is a mess—but it’s not going to tank the financial system," 1 Apr. 2021 At 12, he was sent to live with an aunt in Los Angeles and learned to play golf there on rough-and-tumble public courses. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Lee Elder gets his moment in spotlight at Masters," 8 Apr. 2021 It is made of 100% polyester and can be washed in warm water and then tumble dried low in the dryer. Chris Hachey, BGR, "Best Electric Blanket for Cold Evenings," 30 Mar. 2021 A year later, Shough put up strong numbers for three-plus games, then saw his efficiency tumble in the second half of the season and Brown overtook him during the Fiesta Bowl. oregonlive, "Oregon Ducks open second straight spring with QB competition," 30 Mar. 2021 Carolyn Forte, Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, suggests that face masks should be washed with hot water in the washing machine, and tumble dried on high heat. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, "Here's How to Wear a Face Mask Properly, According to Medical Experts," 5 Oct. 2020 In the top of the seventh, Greene tracked a hard hit from Thairo Estrada, made the catch and held on despite taking a tumble on the warning track. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers' Julio Teheran, Jose Urena sharp in 4-2 exhibition loss to New York Yankees," 12 Mar. 2021

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

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tumble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tumble. Accessed 12 May. 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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