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- (transitive, nautical) To arrange (cargo, goods, etc.) in the hold of a ship; to move or rearrange such goods.
- (transitive, nautical) To search a vessel for smuggled goods.
- After the long voyage, the customs officers rummaged the ship.
- (transitive) To search something thoroughly and with disregard for the way in which things were arranged.
- She rummaged her purse in search of the keys.
- The burglars rummaged the entire house for cash and jewellery.
- 30 August, 1632, James Howell, "To the Rt. Hon. the Lord Mohun" in Epistolæ Ho-Elianæ
- He […] searcheth his pockets, and taketh his keys, and so rummageth all his closets and trunks.
- 1866, Matthew Arnold, The Study of Celtic Literature
- What schoolboy of us has not rummaged his Greek dictionary in vain for a satisfactory account!
- 2013 August 10, Lexington, “Keeping the mighty honest”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8848:
- British journalists shun complete respectability, feeling a duty to be ready to savage the mighty, or rummage through their bins. Elsewhere in Europe, government contracts and subsidies ensure that press barons will only defy the mighty so far.
- (intransitive) To hastily search for something in a confined space and among many items by carelessly turning things over or pushing things aside.
- She rummaged in the drawers trying to find the missing sock.
to search something which contains many items
to search something thoroughly and with disregard
to hastily search for
- A thorough search, usually resulting in disorder.
- Have a rummage through the attic and see if you can find anything worth selling.
- May 24, 1753, Horace Walpole, letter to the Hon. H. S. Conway
- He has made such a general rummage and reform in the office of matrimony.
- (obsolete) Commotion; disturbance.
- A disorganized collection of miscellaneous objects; a jumble.
- (nautical) A place or room for the stowage of cargo in a ship.
- (nautical) The act of stowing cargo; the pulling and moving about of packages incident to close stowage.
- Synonym: romage (obsolete)