Definition of rummage in English:

rummage

Line breaks: rum|mage
Pronunciation: /ˈrʌmɪdʒ
 
/

verb

[no object]
  • 1Search unsystematically and untidily through something: he rummaged in his pocket for a handkerchief [with object]: he rummaged the drawer for his false teeth
    More example sentences
    • I was rummaging through my pocket in search of airsickness pills and looking down at the barren brownish plain, only occasionally dissected with dirt tracks.
    • I rummaged in the sock drawer for a matching pair, flung on a jacket, and jammed my feet into trainers, and then walked to work in record time.
    • I spent most of the night rummaging through desk drawers and sifting through filing cabinets.
    Synonyms
    search (through), hunt through, scrabble about/around in, root about/around in, ferret (about/around) in, fish about/around in, poke around in, dig in, grub about in, delve in, go through, explore, sift through, rifle through, scour, ransack, turn over
    British informal rootle around in
    Australian/New Zealand informal fossick through
    rare roust around in
  • 1.1 [with object] Find (something) by rummaging: Mick rummaged up his skateboard
    More example sentences
    • She handed over her mobile and I rummaged the few digits from my memory.
    • He stared at the door for a moment before letting out a sigh, rummaging his keys out from his pocket, and unlocking his own.
    • She rummaged up some change, and bought us some sodas.
  • 1.2 [with object] (Of a customs officer) make a thorough search of (a vessel): our brief was to rummage as many of the vessels as possible

noun

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  • 1An unsystematic and untidy search: open up the box and have a rummage around
    More example sentences
    • Set in a depressing flat on a south London estate, teenager Luke rummages down the back of a grubby sofa in a fruitless search for something.
    • Now and again he has a good rummage though his bookshelf to see what he can find, and at the moment he's reading a book of Robert Browning's poetry.
    • He went for a walk on the roof, for a rummage in a bin then went back on to the roof.
  • 1.1A thorough search of a vessel by a customs officer: a rummage of the vessel revealed eighty cases of cigars

Derivatives

rummager

noun
More example sentences
  • Every day we hiply dressed rummagers divide the sellable items from the damaged ones; the good stuff gets a wash and then goes to Chicago's five outlets.

Origin

late 15th century: from Old French arrumage, from arrumer 'stow (in a hold)', from Middle Dutch ruim 'room'. In early use the word referred to the arranging of items such as casks in the hold of a ship, giving rise (early 17th century) to the verb sense 'make a search of (a vessel').

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