- to strike the foot against something, as in walking or running, so as to stagger or fall; trip.
- to walk or go unsteadily: to stumble down a dark passage.
- to make a slip, mistake, or blunder, especially a sinful one: to stumble over a question; to stumble and fall from grace.
- to proceed in a hesitating or blundering manner, as in action or speech (often followed by along).
- to discover or meet with accidentally or unexpectedly (usually followed by on, upon, or across): They stumbled on a little village.
- to falter or hesitate, as at an obstacle to progress or belief.
- to cause to stumble; trip.
- to give pause to; puzzle or perplex.
- the act of stumbling.
- a moral lapse or error.
- a slip or blunder.
Origin of stumble
- 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
- a false step, trip, or blunder
- the act of stumbling
Word Origin and History for stumble across
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.
Idioms and Phrases with 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]