- 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
Related Words for stumblingbumble, shuffle, hesitate, wobble, limp, swing, lurch, flounder, lumber, waver, fall, falter, careen, bump, tumble, totter, topple, err, tilt, stammer
Examples from the Web for stumbling
Contemporary Examples of stumbling
The CDA was passed not in the name of censorship but in the name of protecting children from stumbling across sexual material.How the PC Police Threaten Free Speech
January 9, 2015
In the edited conversation below, Earley, 53, talks of Ernest Hemingway, technical challenges, and stumbling toward the light.Tony Earley's Imaginary Friends
September 2, 2014
Slayman eased the young man—Matt, from Pennsylvania—out of the car and got him on his stumbling way.A Report From the Misunderstood Gathering of the Juggalos
July 28, 2014
I carried the puppy up the hill, stumbling under the weight.The Stacks: A Dog Dies, a Boy Grows Up
June 21, 2014
Decadent, venal, ineffective, stratified, anxiety-ridden, stumbling from one declared crisis to the next—who wants that?The Real Clash of Civilizations
March 1, 2014
Historical Examples of stumbling
Von Horn was really the only stumbling block in Bududreen's path.The Monster Men
Edgar Rice Burroughs
One of the horses lunged forward, stumbling in a badger hole.The Law-Breakers
"I'm talkin' blether," she said, stumbling over a stone in the road.Changing Winds
St. John G. Ervine
What was this thing that pushed him, stumbling, along through the dark?Two Thousand Miles Below
Charles Willard Diffin
He now had to carry the flag, and hold her round the waist to prevent her from stumbling.The Fortune of the Rougons
- 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 for stumble
Word Origin and History for stumbling
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.