Probably from Middle French grommeler, from Old French grumeler (to murmur, grumble), from Middle Dutch *grommelen ("to murmur, mutter, grunt"; > Modern Dutch grommelen (to grumble)), frequentative of Middle Dutch grommen (to growl, grunt). Cognate with Middle Low German grummelen (> Low German grummeln (to grumble)), German grummeln (to grumble), Norwegian dialectal grymja (to growl, grunt).


  • IPA(key): /ˈɡɹʌmbl̩/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌmbəl


grumble (plural grumbles)

  1. (onomatopoeia) A low thundering, rumbling or growling sound.
  2. The sound made by a hungry stomach.
  3. A surly complaint.
    That whiner is never without a grumble to share.

Derived termsEdit



grumble (third-person singular simple present grumbles, present participle grumbling, simple past and past participle grumbled)

  1. (intransitive) To make a low, growling or rumbling noise, like a hungry stomach or certain animals.
    The distant thunder grumbles.
    • 1995, Terry C. Johnston, Dance on the Wind, page 15:
      It made his stomach grumble in protest to think the mule was eating, and here he was worrying about her with an empty belly of his own.
  2. (intransitive) To complain; to murmur or mutter with discontent; to make ill-natured complaints in a low voice and a surly manner.
    He grumbles about the food constantly, but has yet to learn to cook.
  3. (transitive) To utter in a grumbling fashion.
    • 2001, Harry Willcox Pfanz, Gettysburg — the first day:
      He grumbled that there was no grain "in the country" and that people were talking instead of working to provide it.


Derived termsEdit


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See alsoEdit