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[ruhm-buh l] /ˈrʌm bəl/
verb (used without object), rumbled, rumbling.
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), rumbled, rumbling.
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 forms
rumbler, noun
rumblingly, adverb
1. roar, thunder, roll, boom. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for rumbled
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His voice was so loud that the echo of it rumbled back from the cliffs.

    Joan of the Journal Helen Diehl Olds
  • And away, and away, and away they rumbled and jumbled to the cars.

  • I sure been burnin the ground all over North Sonora on your trail, he rumbled.

    Dust of the Desert Robert Welles Ritchie
  • This is the only chance Ill give you to climb in with the music, he rumbled.

    The Making of Bobby Burnit George Randolph Chester
  • Once Thor struck the scent of another grizzly, and he rumbled ill-humouredly.

    The Grizzly King James Oliver Curwood
  • "I sure will if he keeps his disguise on," she rumbled back.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • She, of course, was aware when he mounted into the cart and rumbled out of sight around the corner of the cottage.

  • Then it rumbled out some remarks about "pirates, vermin, coast of Cuba."

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • Under the shade of cocoa- and coffee-trees they rumbled over the road, and at length arrived at the gates of the gardens.

    The Funny Philosophers George Yellott
British Dictionary definitions for rumbled


to make or cause to make a deep resonant sound: thunder rumbled in the sky
to move with such a sound: the train rumbled along
(transitive) to utter with a rumbling sound: he rumbled an order
(transitive) to tumble (metal components, gemstones, etc) in a barrel of smooth stone in order to polish them
(transitive) (Brit, informal) to find out about (someone or something); discover (something): the police rumbled their plans
(intransitive) (US, slang) to be involved in a gang fight
a deep resonant sound
a widespread murmur of discontent
another name for tumbler (sense 4)
(US & Canadian, NZ, slang) a gang fight
Derived Forms
rumbler, noun
rumbling, adjective
rumblingly, adverb
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for rumbled



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
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Slang definitions & phrases for rumbled



  1. Information or notification given to the police: The cops had gotten a rumble that gangsters were holed up (1911+ Underworld)
  2. A police search or raid; roust: If there's a rumble, we do the time (1940s+ Police)
  3. A fight between street gangs: Teenagers Injured in Brooklyn Rumble (1940s+ Street gang)


To steal; loot: ending a run by rumbling everything from airline glasses to grub (1970s+ Airline)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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