stumble

[stuhm-buh l]

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

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

to cause to stumble; trip.
to give pause to; puzzle or perplex.

noun


Origin of stumble

1275–1325; Middle English stumblen; cognate with Norwegian stumla to grope and stumble in the dark; akin to stammer
Related formsstum·bler, nounstum·bling·ly, adverbun·stum·bling, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for stumble across

catch, reach, take, seize, unearth, achieve, effect, attain, uncover, encounter

British Dictionary definitions for stumble across

stumble

verb (intr)

to trip or fall while walking or running
to walk in an awkward, unsteady, or unsure way
to make mistakes or hesitate in speech or actions
(foll by across or upon) to come (across) by accident
to commit a grave mistake or sin

noun

a false step, trip, or blunder
the act of stumbling
Derived Formsstumbler, nounstumbling, adjectivestumblingly, adverb

Word Origin for stumble

C14: related to Norwegian stumla, Danish dialect stumle; see stammer
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 stumble across

stumble

v.

c.1300, "to trip or miss one's footing" (physically or morally), probably from a Scandinavian source (cf. dialectal Norwegian stumla, Swedish stambla "to stumble"), probably from a variant of the Proto-Germanic base *stam-, source of Old English stamerian "to stammer," German stumm "dumb, silent." Possibly influenced in form by stumpen "to stumble," but the -b- may be purely euphonious. Meaning "to come (upon) by chance" is attested from 1550s. Stumbling-block first recorded 1526, used in Rom. xiv:13 to translate Greek skandalon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with stumble across

stumble across

Also, stumble on. Find by chance, discover or meet with unexpectedly. For example, When we were hiking up the mountain we stumbled across a few abandoned shepherd's huts, or At the flea market Alfred stumbled on a quite valuable old lithograph. This idiom uses stumble in the sense of “accidentally trip.” [Mid-1500s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.