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 To ensure no one hurts themselves (namely, tumble off the stage) in the dark. Katie Chang, Forbes, 26 Sep. 2021 In conversation, Sliwa’s stories tumble out in a steady stream. Tom Robbins, The New Yorker, 27 Aug. 2021 With an initial reduction of 661, the headquarter headcount would tumble to 619. Jessika Harkay, courant.com, 7 Aug. 2021 Realignment dominoes might tumble again when the current round of TV contracts expire. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Sep. 2021 Dow drops more than 700 points, yields tumble as new virus fears circle the world. Laura L. Davis, USA TODAY, 19 July 2021 And not only will temperatures tumble on Wednesday, there’s a possibility of snow at the highest elevations. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Aug. 2021 Foreign embassies are discussing draw downs and there are signs that the capital Kabul could tumble, ending a democratic dream bought with the blood of thousands of Americans. CNN, 13 Aug. 2021 Values can soar or tumble based on a manager’s whim, a poor game or the emergence of a superior rival. New York Times, 21 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Along the way, Hughes preached integrity in a rough-and-tumble industry. Jeff Mcdonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Oct. 2021 Many fear that headgear use will subsequently lead to shoulder and elbow pads and heavily padded gloves, which are staples of the rough-and-tumble boys’ game. Bill Pennington, New York Times, 8 Oct. 2021 The Fifth Street Market that occupied the area between Vine and Walnut streets had a rough-and-tumble reputation, a place ladies were recommended to avoid. Jeff Suess, The Enquirer, 4 Oct. 2021 Alas, save for the pre-credit sequence and the fun first-act romp in Cuba (everyone is going to claim to want a Paloma spin-off), this feels closer in spirit to Spectre than Skyfall or even the rough-and-tumble Quantum of Solace set pieces. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 28 Sep. 2021 What limits VTubing is perhaps not the digital avatar itself, but rather its connection to the sometimes rough-and-tumble streaming subculture. Nicholas Gordon, Fortune, 23 Sep. 2021 Like the La Perouse Bay trail, Laramie's base is a bit out of the way; it must be accessed by vehicle along a rough-and-tumble gravel road. Stacey Lastoe, Travel + Leisure, 29 Aug. 2021 Newsom and Harris have known each other for roughly two decades, with both ascending to leadership roles after emerging from San Francisco’s rough-and-tumble political world. Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times, 26 Aug. 2021 This time, the speedy missile didn’t just fall off the B-52 carrying it and tumble to the ground, as happened last year. David Axe, Forbes, 28 Sep. 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

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

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Last Updated

12 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tumble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tumble. Accessed 23 Oct. 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 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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