- to search thoroughly or actively through (a place, receptacle, etc.), especially by moving around, turning over, or looking through contents.
- to find, bring, or fetch by searching (often followed by out or up).
- to search actively, as in a place or receptacle or within oneself: She rummaged in her mind for the forgotten name.
- miscellaneous articles; odds and ends.
- a rummaging search.
Origin of rummage
- (tr) to find by searching vigorously; turn out
- (when intr , often foll by through) to search (through) while looking for something, often causing disorder or confusion
- an act of rummaging
- a jumble of articles
- obsolete confusion or bustle
Word Origin and History for rummage out
1540s, "arrange (cargo) in a ship," from rummage (n.), 1520s, "act of arranging cargo in a ship," a shortening of Middle French arrumage "arrangement of cargo," from arrumer "to stow goods in the hold of a ship," from a- "to" + rumer, probably from Germanic (cf. Old Norse rum "compartment in a ship," Old High German rum "space," Old English rum; see room (n.)). Or else from English room (n.) + -age.
Meaning "to search closely (the hold of a ship), especially by moving things about" first recorded 1610s. Related: Rummaged; rummaging. Rummage sale (1803) originally was a sale at docks of unclaimed goods.