Definition of grumble in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɡrʌmb(ə)l/


1 [reporting verb] Complain about something in a bad-tempered way: [with direct speech]: ‘I’m getting old,’ she grumbled [no object]: the cashier grumbled about changing Swiss money [with clause]: his father was grumbling that he hadn’t heard from him
More example sentences
  • Some grumble and gripe, and lurch from crisis to crisis.
  • He grumbled under his breath in response as he rolled his eyes.
  • Several men grumbled loudly about this, and shifted uneasily about the room.
complain, moan, groan, whine, mutter, grouse, bleat, carp, cavil, protest;
object to, speak out against, find fault with
informal bellyache, beef, bitch, grouch, whinge, sound off, go on, pick holes in
British informal gripe, grizzle, chunter, create
Northern English informal mither
North American informal kvetch
South African informal chirp
British dated crib, natter
archaic plain over
2 [no object] Make a low rumbling sound: thunder was grumbling somewhere in the distance
More example sentences
  • The crooning stopped, replaced by the sound of the engine grumbling steadily and the road moving beneath us smoothly.
  • The heavens began rumbling and grumbling, and without warning, great bolts of lightning flashed out and struck several larger demons down.
  • His voice was a low bass, rumbling and grumbling in his throat, and it came out slow and steady like molasses.
rumble, gurgle, murmur, growl, roar
3 [no object] (usually as adjective grumbling) (Of an internal organ) give intermittent discomfort: a grumbling appendix
More example sentences
  • The smell of cooking drifted up the stairs and we descended with stomachs grumbling to the traditionally decorated restaurant.
  • Stomach grumbling, I looked up at the clock - It was about noon - grimaced, and grabbed a banana off the counter, padding upstairs.
  • She fidgeted on her spot, shifting from one foot to another as an uncomfortable silence filled the air, but she was saved when her stomach started grumbling loudly.


1A complaint: the main grumble is that he spends too much time away
More example sentences
  • Were it not for the grumbles and complaints of those who cannot appreciate the art of commercials, I would certainly have more appetite for my dinner and eat more healthy food when I watch TV commercials.
  • She strode pas the long line, to grumbles and complaints from the waiting queue.
  • Finally unit number three ran without any complaints or grumbles.
complaint, moan, groan, whine, muttering, grievance, objection, protest, protestation, cavil, quibble, criticism, charge, accusation
informal grouse, grouch, whinge, beef, beefing, bellyaching, bitching, grouching, whingeing
British informal gripe
Law , British  plaint
2A low rumbling sound.
Example sentences
  • The only reply was a grunt, and a grumble, which sounded like, ‘Go away.’
  • After that I made some sound that sounded like a grumble, but not quite.
  • He gave off a sigh that sounded like a grumble, but Stephanie didn't seem to have noticed.
rumble, gurgle, murmur, growl, roar



Pronunciation: /ˈɡrʌmb(ə)lə/
Example sentences
  • It merely brands you as the department's top grumbler, grouch and complainer.
  • Actually, I think those selfish grumblers should stop their complaining too because they're not the only ones who are suffering.
  • The sooner these negative old grumblers disappear the better.


Example sentences
  • As the red-faced beasts melted grumblingly away into the forest, they looked like they couldn't believe I thought these were my tomatoes, my carrots.
  • And many of the thoughts, often viewed as grumblingly dyspeptic and idiosyncratic, have come to pass.
  • They either grumblingly did so, or lashed out at me.


Example sentences
  • He is a wonderful man, especially because he sounds like a grumbly, rumbly bear when he wakes up and because he gets so concerned when I have one of my crying jags.
  • Unlike Lorraine I can't be bribed with mangos, and have never been as grumbly about people sending things with sand in as she is (probably because I don't have to clean it up).
  • He's been suffering the past couple of days, becoming morose and grumbly, so I gave him a good once over yesterday and, sure enough, there was the tell-tale little bulge high up in his tummy.


Late 16th century: from obsolete grumme (probably of Germanic origin and related to Dutch grommen) + -le4.

Words that rhyme with grumble

bumble, crumble, fumble, humble, jumble, mumble, rough-and-tumble, rumble, scumble, stumble, tumble, umbel

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: grum¦ble

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