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[ruhm-ij] /ˈrʌm ɪdʒ/
verb (used with object), rummaged, rummaging.
to search thoroughly or actively through (a place, receptacle, etc.), especially by moving around, turning over, or looking through contents.
to find, bring, or fetch by searching (often followed by out or up).
verb (used without object), rummaged, rummaging.
to search actively, as in a place or receptacle or within oneself:
She rummaged in her mind for the forgotten name.
miscellaneous articles; odds and ends.
a rummaging search.
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for rummaged
  • He rummaged through the nest, the alligator's eyes darting between him and us, but he was unable to find any.
  • They had rummaged around his thorax, trying to get close to the arrowhead and the tissue around it.
  • Pigs snorted, grunted and rummaged, occasionally pacing in their large pens.
  • In some cases, spectators rummaged through the leftover ashes searching for grim souvenirs.
  • He rummaged around inside until he found two flashlights.
  • They rummaged through the ship, helping themselves to the clothes and music players they found.
  • While he rummaged at the bottom of his bag to extract his notes from beneath the sausages and clothes, the diplomat ordered tea.
  • She rummaged in the cupboard above the sink and began to draw a new red smile over the flagging grimace already there.
  • They rummaged through glove boxes and center consoles, and stole items they could easily see.
  • They took the bag and rummaged through its contents.
British Dictionary definitions for rummaged


when intr, often foll by through. to search (through) while looking for something, often causing disorder or confusion
an act of rummaging
a jumble of articles
(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 rummaged



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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