• synonyms


[gruhm-buh l]
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verb (used without object), grum·bled, grum·bling.
  1. to murmur or mutter in discontent; complain sullenly.
  2. to utter low, indistinct sounds; growl.
  3. to rumble: The thunder grumbled in the west.
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verb (used with object), grum·bled, grum·bling.
  1. to express or utter with murmuring or complaining.
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  1. an expression of discontent; complaint; unhappy murmur; growl.
  2. grumbles, a grumbling, discontented mood.
  3. a rumble.
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Origin of grumble

1580–90; perhaps frequentative of Old English grymman to wail; compare Dutch grommelen, German grummeln, French grommeler (< Gmc)
Related formsgrum·bler, noungrum·bling·ly, adverbgrum·bly, adjectiveun·grum·bling, adjective

Synonym study

1. See complain.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for grumbly


  1. to utter (complaints) in a nagging or discontented way
  2. (intr) to make low dull rumbling sounds
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  1. a complaint; grouse
  2. a low rumbling sound
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Derived Formsgrumbler, noungrumblingly, adverbgrumbly, 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

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.

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1620s, from grumble (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper