• synonyms


[ruhm-buh l]
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verb (used without object), rum·bled, rum·bling.
  1. to make a deep, heavy, somewhat muffled, continuous sound, as thunder.
  2. to move or travel with such a sound: The train rumbled on.
  3. Slang. to have or take part in a street fight between or among teenage gangs: Rival gangs rumbled on Saturday afternoon.
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verb (used with object), rum·bled, rum·bling.
  1. to give forth or utter with a rumbling sound: to rumble a command.
  2. to cause to make or move with a rumbling sound: to rumble a wagon over the ground.
  3. to subject to the action of a rumble or tumbling box, as for the purpose of polishing.
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  1. a deep, heavy, somewhat muffled, continuous sound: the rumble of tanks across a bridge.
  2. rumble seat.
  3. a rear part of a carriage containing seating accommodations, as for servants, or space for baggage.
  4. a tumbling box.
  5. Slang. a street fight between rival teenage gangs.
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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


See more synonyms for rumble on Thesaurus.com
1. roar, thunder, roll, boom.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for rumble

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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


  1. to make or cause to make a deep resonant soundthunder rumbled in the sky
  2. to move with such a soundthe train rumbled along
  3. (tr) to utter with a rumbling soundhe rumbled an order
  4. (tr) to tumble (metal components, gemstones, etc) in a barrel of smooth stone in order to polish them
  5. (tr) British informal to find out about (someone or something); discover (something)the police rumbled their plans
  6. (intr) US slang to be involved in a gang fight
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  1. a deep resonant sound
  2. a widespread murmur of discontent
  3. another name for tumbler (def. 4)
  4. US, Canadian and NZ slang a gang fight
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Derived Formsrumbler, nounrumbling, adjectiverumblingly, adverb

Word Origin

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.

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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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper