Definition of rummage in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrəmij/


[no object]
1Search unsystematically and untidily through a mass or receptacle: 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.
search (through), hunt through, root about/around (in), ferret about/around (in), fish about/around (in), poke around (in), dig through, delve through, go through, explore, sift through, rifle (through)
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


1An unsystematic and untidy search through a mass or receptacle.
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.



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.


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)'.

Words that rhyme with rummage


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: rum·mage

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