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rummage

[ruhm-ij] /ˈrʌm ɪdʒ/
verb (used with object), rummaged, rummaging.
1.
to search thoroughly or actively through (a place, receptacle, etc.), especially by moving around, turning over, or looking through contents.
2.
to find, bring, or fetch by searching (often followed by out or up).
verb (used without object), rummaged, rummaging.
3.
to search actively, as in a place or receptacle or within oneself:
She rummaged in her mind for the forgotten name.
noun
4.
miscellaneous articles; odds and ends.
5.
a rummaging search.
Origin
1520-1530
1520-30; aphetic alteration of Middle French arrumage, equivalent to arrum(er) to stow goods in the hold of a ship (< ?) + -age -age
Related forms
rummager, noun
unrummaged, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for rummage
  • Reality is a natural place to rummage for ideas for a television producer who is out of writers to provide them.
  • Wild boars rummage through the underbrush here, rooting for fungi and small plants to eat.
  • Thousands of dealers, acres of stuff to rummage through in.
  • Ask him to explore an idea and he'll rummage happily.
  • In the early days the customer was left to rummage through the racks.
  • Take an instant vacation from the workaday world rummage through the musical library in your pocket.
  • She jumped out of the hammock and ran down to the bank to rummage for a good strong replacement.
  • They rummage around in the basket until, with a triumphant cry, they pull a rolled-up piece of paper out of one of the apples.
  • Farther down, the doctors rummage under the slough of intestines as though through a poorly organized toolbox.
  • Some people will do as they please, since in practice employers rarely rummage through workers' gear, or their locked cars.
British Dictionary definitions for rummage

rummage

/ˈrʌmɪdʒ/
verb
1.
when intr, often foll by through. to search (through) while looking for something, often causing disorder or confusion
noun
2.
an act of rummaging
3.
a jumble of articles
4.
(obsolete) confusion or bustle
Derived Forms
rummager, noun
Word Origin
C14 (in the sense: to pack a cargo): from Old French arrumage, from arrumer to stow in a ship's hold, probably of Germanic origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for rummage
v.

1540s, "arrange (cargo) in a ship," from rummage (n.), 1520s, "act of arranging cargo in a ship," a shortening of Middle French arrumage "arrangement of cargo," from arrumer "to stow goods in the hold of a ship," from a- "to" + rumer, probably from Germanic (cf. Old Norse rum "compartment in a ship," Old High German rum "space," Old English rum; see room (n.)). Or else from English room (n.) + -age.

Meaning "to search closely (the hold of a ship), especially by moving things about" first recorded 1610s. Related: Rummaged; rummaging. Rummage sale (1803) originally was a sale at docks of unclaimed goods.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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