View synonyms for tumble


[ tuhm-buhl ]

verb (used without object)

, tum·bled, tum·bling.
  1. to fall helplessly down, end over end, as by losing one's footing, support, or equilibrium; plunge headlong:

    to tumble down the stairs.

  2. to roll end over end, as in falling:

    The stones tumbled down the hill.

  3. to fall or decline rapidly; drop:

    Prices on the stock market tumbled today.

  4. to perform gymnastic feats of skill and agility, as leaps or somersaults.
  5. to fall suddenly from a position of power or authority; suffer overthrow:

    As one dictator tumbles, another is rising to take his place.

  6. to fall in ruins, as from age or decay; collapse; topple:

    The walls of the old mansion tumbled down upon the intruders.

  7. to roll about by turning one way and another; pitch about; toss.
  8. to stumble or fall (usually followed by over ):

    to tumble over a sled.

  9. to go, come, get, etc., in a hasty and confused way:

    The people tumbled out of the theater. He tumbled hurriedly into his clothes.

  10. Informal. to understand or become aware of some fact or circumstance (often followed by to ):

    He finally tumbled to what they were doing.

  11. Rocketry. (of a missile) to rotate without control end over end.

verb (used with object)

, tum·bled, tum·bling.
  1. to cause to fall or roll end over end; throw over or down.
  2. to throw or toss about; cause disarray, as in handling or searching.
  3. to put in a disordered or rumpled condition.
  4. to throw, cast, put, send, etc., in a precipitate, hasty, or rough manner.
  5. to cause to fall from a position of authority or power; overthrow; topple:

    They tumbled him from his throne.

  6. to cause to fall or collapse in ruins:

    The wreckers tumbled the walls of the building.

  7. to subject to the action of a tumbling box.


  1. an act of tumbling or falling.
  2. a gymnastic or acrobatic feat.
  3. an accidental fall; spill.
  4. a drop in value, as of stocks.
  5. a fall from a position of power or authority:

    The great director took a tumble when he was replaced by a newcomer.

  6. a response indicating interest, affection, etc.:

    She wouldn't give me a tumble.

  7. tumbled condition; disorder or confusion.
  8. a confused heap:

    a tumble of papers, ashes, pens, and keys on the desk.

  9. Chiefly New England. a haycock.


/ ˈtʌmbəl /


  1. to fall or cause to fall, esp awkwardly, precipitately, or violently
  2. intrusually foll byabout to roll or twist, esp in playing

    the kittens tumbled about on the floor

  3. intr to perform leaps, somersaults, etc
  4. to go or move in a heedless or hasty way
  5. tr to polish (gemstones) in a tumbler
  6. tr to disturb, rumple, or toss around

    to tumble the bedclothes


  1. the act or an instance of tumbling
  2. a fall or toss
  3. an acrobatic feat, esp a somersault
  4. a decrease in value, number, etc

    stock markets have taken a tumble

  5. a state of confusion
  6. a confused heap or pile

    a tumble of clothes

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Other Words From

  • un·tumbled adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of tumble1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English tum(b)len “to dance in acrobatic style” (cognate with Dutch tuimelen, Low German tummeln ), frequentative of Middle English tomben, Old English tumbian, (cognate with Old Norse tumba, akin to Old High German tūmōn “to reel” (perhaps from Old Low German ); compare French tomber “to fall,” from Germanic ); -le

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Word History and Origins

Origin of tumble1

Old English tumbian , from Old French tomber ; related to Old High German tūmōn to turn

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. take a tumble to, Australian Slang. to come to understand.

More idioms and phrases containing tumble

see rough and tumble .

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Example Sentences

The violence has once again left victims’ families with a tumble of emotions — grief, anger, confusion.

As the US economy continues to open up, the April jobs report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the boom in delivery jobs has taken a tumble.

From Quartz

The best ski helmets overall offer comfort, protection from the elements, and safeguarding from the unique types of impacts one might encounter when taking a tumble in the snow.

I’ve blasted through pow shots and have taken some big tumbles.

It wasn’t just the big players — customer service company Zendesk and security firm Okta also dropped Parler as a customer, furthering its tumble off the Web.

At any moment, the slightest loss in concentration could see a disastrous tumble.

His youngest son, Orange Scott, was a rough-and-tumble trickster and a terrible tease.

No friend of liberty can avoid the tumble back and forth between Burke and Paine.

Mandelbaum began her climb to the top of the crime world as a peddler on the rough-and-tumble, bustling streets of New York City.

Flecks of frosting tumble in slow motion to light on his belly, which gently swells beneath a black sweater.

He could hardly walk up the rickety front steps of the old tumble-down house, and his thirteen-year-old son had to help him.

A good man mixes with the world in the rough-and-tumble, and takes his share of the dangers, and the falls, and the temptations.

I shall be so afraid that the roof will tumble in, or somebody come down the chimney to catch me, that I shant sleep a wink.

The third skulker took advantage of the cessation of firing to tumble down from his perch and fly for his life.

I hope you will appreciate my devotion; in a tumble-down old house, near the ramparts.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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