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See also: Rumble


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English rumblen, romblen, rummelyn, frequentative form of romen (to roar), equivalent to rome +‎ -le. Cognate with Dutch rommelen (to rumble), Low German rummeln (to rumble), German rumpeln (to be noisy), Danish rumle (to rumble), all of imitative origin.


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈɹʌmb(ə)l/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌmbəl


rumble (plural rumbles)

  1. A low, heavy, continuous sound, such as that of thunder or a hungry stomach.
    The rumble from passing trucks made it hard to sleep at night.
  2. (slang) A street fight or brawl.
  3. A rotating cask or box in which small articles are smoothed or polished by friction against each other.
  4. (dated) A seat for servants, behind the body of a carriage.
    • 1840-1841, Charles Dickens, Master Humphrey's Clock:
      Kit, well wrapped, [] was in the rumble behind.
    • 1838 (date written), L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter I, in Lady Anne Granard; or, Keeping up Appearances. [], volume I, London: Henry Colburn, [], published 1842, →OCLC, page 2:
      "I never was so sorry for any thing as for Mr. Glentworth's death," said Isabella Granard, endeavouring to screen her face from a small, sharp rain, to which her place in the rumble of a travelling carriage left her quite exposed.

Derived terms[edit]



rumble (third-person singular simple present rumbles, present participle rumbling, simple past and past participle rumbled)

  1. (intransitive) To make a low, heavy, continuous sound.
    If I don't eat, my stomach will rumble.
    I could hear the thunder rumbling in the distance.
  2. (transitive) To discover deceitful or underhanded behaviour.
    The police is going to rumble your hideout.
  3. (intransitive) To move while making a rumbling noise.
    The truck rumbled over the rough road.
    • 1950 January, Arthur F. Beckenham, “With British Railways to the Far North”, in Railway Magazine, page 8:
      As the train rumbled slowly over the Forth Bridge, the western sky was aflame with a particularly gorgeous sunset, and lights were twinkling from the small craft riding at anchor on the calm waters of the firth.
    • 2021 March 7, David Hytner, “Manchester United catch City cold as Fernandes and Shaw end winning run”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Henderson, beginning a mini-run in the team with David de Gea on paternity leave, threw out to the left flank and Shaw had only one thought – to rumble upfield.
  4. (slang, intransitive) To fight; to brawl.
  5. (video games, intransitive, of a game controller) To provide haptic feedback by vibrating.
  6. (transitive) To cause to pass through a rumble, or polishing machine.
  7. (obsolete, intransitive) To murmur; to ripple.
    • c. 1580, Edmund Spenser, “The Tears of the Muses”, in Complaints[2], published 1591:
      The trembling streams which wont in channels clear
      To rumble gently down with murmur soft, []

Derived terms[edit]




  1. An onomatopoeia describing a rumbling noise