verb (used without object), rum·bled, rum·bling.

verb (used with object), rum·bled, rum·bling.


Origin of rumble

1325–75; 1940–45 for def 3; (v.) Middle English romblen, rumblen; compare Dutch rommelen, probably of imitative orig.; (noun) Middle English, derivative of the v.
Related formsrum·bler, nounrum·bling·ly, adverb

Synonyms for rumble Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rumble

Contemporary Examples of rumble

Historical Examples of rumble

  • When, at last, he spoke, his voice was a rumble of strangely shy pleasure.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • And a rumble quickly grew to an earth-shaking blast of thunder.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • The Courier in the rumble was not altogether comfortable in his mind.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • There was a rumble of thunder far out on the western prairie.

  • They both turned at the rumble of the train outside the station.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

British Dictionary definitions for rumble



to make or cause to make a deep resonant soundthunder rumbled in the sky
to move with such a soundthe train rumbled along
(tr) to utter with a rumbling soundhe rumbled an order
(tr) to tumble (metal components, gemstones, etc) in a barrel of smooth stone in order to polish them
(tr) British informal to find out about (someone or something); discover (something)the police rumbled their plans
(intr) US slang to be involved in a gang fight


a deep resonant sound
a widespread murmur of discontent
another name for tumbler (def. 4)
US, Canadian and NZ slang a gang fight
Derived Formsrumbler, nounrumbling, adjectiverumblingly, adverb

Word Origin for rumble

C14: perhaps from Middle Dutch rummelen; related to German rummeln, rumpeln
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 rumble

late 14c., "make a deep, heavy, continuous sound," also "move with a rolling, thundering sound," also "create disorder and confusion," probably related to Middle Dutch rommelen "to rumble," Middle High German rummeln, Old Norse rymja "to shout, roar," all of imitative origin. Related: Rumbled; rumbling.


late 14c., from rumble (v.). Slang noun meaning "gang fight" is from 1946. Meaning "backmost part of a carriage" is from 1808 (earlier rumbler, 1801), probably from the effect of sitting over the wheels; hence rumble seat (1828).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper