Often rumblings. the first signs of dissatisfaction or grievance.

Origin of rumbling

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at rumble, -ing1



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

to make a deep, heavy, somewhat muffled, continuous sound, as thunder.
to move or travel with such a sound: The train rumbled on.
Slang. to have or take part in a street fight between or among teenage gangs: Rival gangs rumbled on Saturday afternoon.

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

to give forth or utter with a rumbling sound: to rumble a command.
to cause to make or move with a rumbling sound: to rumble a wagon over the ground.
to subject to the action of a rumble or tumbling box, as for the purpose of polishing.


a deep, heavy, somewhat muffled, continuous sound: the rumble of tanks across a bridge.
a rear part of a carriage containing seating accommodations, as for servants, or space for baggage.
a tumbling box.
Slang. a street fight between rival teenage gangs.

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

Related Words for rumbling

roar, resound, grumble, boom, roll

Examples from the Web for rumbling

Contemporary Examples of rumbling

Historical Examples of rumbling

British Dictionary definitions for rumbling



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 rumbling



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