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[gruhm-buh l] /ˈgrʌm bəl/
verb (used without object), grumbled, grumbling.
to murmur or mutter in discontent; complain sullenly.
to utter low, indistinct sounds; growl.
to rumble:
The thunder grumbled in the west.
verb (used with object), grumbled, grumbling.
to express or utter with murmuring or complaining.
an expression of discontent; complaint; unhappy murmur; growl.
grumbles, a grumbling, discontented mood.
a rumble.
Origin of grumble
1580-90; perhaps frequentative of Old English grymman to wail; compare Dutch grommelen, German grummeln, French grommeler (< Gmc)
Related forms
grumbler, noun
grumblingly, adverb
grumbly, adjective
ungrumbling, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for grumbly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "I never had anything nice like that happen to me," said Sammie, in just the least bit of a grumbly voice.

    Sammie and Susie Littletail Howard R. Garis
  • This is too grousy and grumbly a letter to send off just as it is.

    Up and Down Edward Frederic Benson
  • Now there lived at this same court a very rich old Duchess whose name was grumbly.

    The Fairy Ring Various
  • At the sound of that deep, rumbly, grumbly voice it looked for a few minutes as if school would be broken up for that day.

  • Buster growled a deep, grumbly, rumbly growl and started up after him.

    The Adventures of Bobby Coon Thornton W. Burgess
  • The population there is rather disposed to be grumbly on its once heroic Fabius; wishes the Fabius were a little less cunctatory.

  • grumbly is a good soldier in his way, Mr. Connell, and knows his trade, too.

    To The Front Charles King
  • Now there lived at this same court a very rich old duchess whose name was grumbly.

  • Buster Bear began to chuckle and then to laugh, and his laugh was deep and grumbly rumbly like his voice.

    The Adventures of Bobby Coon Thornton W. Burgess
British Dictionary definitions for grumbly


to utter (complaints) in a nagging or discontented way
(intransitive) to make low dull rumbling sounds
a complaint; grouse
a low rumbling sound
Derived Forms
grumbler, noun
grumblingly, adverb
grumbly, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Middle Low German grommelen, of Germanic origin; see grim
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for grumbly



1580s, from Middle French grommeler "mutter between the teeth" or directly from Middle Dutch grommelen "murmur, mutter, grunt," from grommen "to rumble, growl." Imitative, or perhaps akin to grim. Related: Grumbled; grumbling.


1620s, from grumble (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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