Definition of rumble in English:



  • 1[no object] Make a continuous deep, resonant sound.

    ‘thunder rumbled, lightning flickered’
    • ‘Thunder rumbled, sounding closer than it had before.’
    • ‘Thunder rumbled around the rooftops and lightning flashed repeatedly across the sodden skyline.’
    • ‘The clouds remained, lightning continued to strike, and thunder continued to rumble, but there was no rain.’
    • ‘Thunder rumbled ominously in the distance, and lightning lit up the underbellies of the clouds to the far south.’
    • ‘He stared up at the sky, a deep growl rumbling in his throat.’
    • ‘The sound of thunder rumbled through my ears and a flash of lightning appeared here and there.’
    • ‘It was deep and rumbling, like the thunder that came just before a storm.’
    • ‘Thunder rumbled ominously, and the wind and rain battered the windows.’
    • ‘It thundered and rumbled and rain fell ferociously for hours.’
    • ‘A sudden drum roll of thunder rumbled over the meadow, but only the village seemed to notice.’
    • ‘The building groaned as a sound like thunder rumbled somewhere above him.’
    • ‘Soon thunder rumbled across the heavens and flashes of lightning lit up the hillsides as thick curtains of rain swept towards us.’
    • ‘In the distance, thunder rumbled, and sheet lightning dimly lit the sky.’
    • ‘Instantaneously, the sky darkened, thunder rumbled, and lightning flashed.’
    • ‘Thunder rumbles because we hear sound waves from different parts of a jagged lightning stroke.’
    • ‘Thunder rumbled and lightning flashed, making the scene even more nightmarish.’
    • ‘The rain only lasted thirty minutes, but thunder continued to rumble for hours afterwards.’
    • ‘Lightning struck and thunder rumbled all around us.’
    • ‘The sound of thunder rumbled off in the distance.’
    • ‘Thunder continued to rumble ominously overhead, like some great sky god beating out a war march on giant, distant drums.’
    boom, thunder, roll, roar, resound, reverberate, echo, grumble, growl
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    1. 1.1[with adverbial of direction](especially of a large vehicle) move with a rumbling sound.
      ‘heavy lorries rumbled through the streets’
      • ‘News came in that a squadron of armored cars were rumbling down the Nevsky with red flags flying from them.’
      • ‘Even when a farmer's manure truck rumbled down the road beside her, Gina didn't budge.’
      • ‘And then the vehicles noisily rumble back in again at 3.30 pm.’
      • ‘Tanks and armoured personnel carriers rumbled through the torn-up streets Saturday, but few Palestinians were visible.’
      • ‘A pall of gloom hangs over the usually bustling market town as sealed container wagons and Army trucks rumble through the streets.’
      • ‘The bus rumbles out of Glazoué and turns off into the countryside.’
      • ‘The vehicle rumbled slowly past and stopped in the middle of the street.’
      • ‘Once they had passed, Bligh scrambled down the bank and stopped as the wagons rumbled past within inches of his face.’
      • ‘Kirkby Stephen's heavy goods vehicle ban is being ignored by heavy trucks that rumble through the town at night, parish councillors heard this week.’
      • ‘Residents have complained about being awoken in the early hours by empty wagons rumbling through the town on their way to the quarries.’
      • ‘The Eastside van rumbles away and a cloud of dust settles around the edge of the forest.’
      • ‘Outside cars honked their frustrated horns and trucks rumbled past cutting everybody off.’
      • ‘No sooner had the thought passed through her mind when the familiar '79 Ford truck rumbled into the mouth of her driveway.’
      • ‘Hailey watched in open-mouthed horror as James' car rumbled past her house and down the road.’
      • ‘Back at the ambulance base, army vehicles rumble past.’
      • ‘Another resident, David Stanton said he heard trucks rumble past in the very early hours of the morning and agreed the only solution was Route K.’
      • ‘Villagers have complained about large lorries daily rumbling past a 16-pupil school on a very narrow road.’
      • ‘He leaned out over the small rail and was about to embrace the blackness when a truck came rumbling along the road.’
      • ‘Willersey residents were hoping their campaign to stop heavy lorries rumbling through their village streets would move up a gear after a meeting last night.’
      • ‘Late in the evening, freight cars rumble past, lumbering along in the wake of the engine's distant whistle.’
      reverberate, echo, re-echo, resound, boom, peal, roar, grumble
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    2. 1.2[with object]Utter in a deep, resonant voice.
      ‘the man's low voice rumbled an instruction’
      • ‘Gary called from the car, his deep voice rumbling across the parking lot.’
      • ‘Goetz's Scrooge is refined and practiced, his voice rumbling through the audience.’
      • ‘‘I was beginning to think you three wouldn't show up,’ the old man's voice rumbled.’
      • ‘Anthony's voice rumbled quietly from behind me.’
      • ‘Lee's voice rumbled away on the other side of the line.’
      • ‘‘I see you've learned to tango,’ he murmured, his low voice rumbling softly in my ear.’
      • ‘He had a really nice voice and it almost rumbled when he whispered.’
      • ‘His voice rumbled darkly in that scolding way of his.’
      • ‘‘Welcome back to the land of the living,’ a voice rumbled from my left.’
      • ‘Jack's baritone voice rumbled through the empty halls.’
      • ‘‘Take a deep breath,’ Smith instructed, his voice rumbling in the back of his throat.’
      • ‘The deep voice rumbled next to her ear and she froze, chills flying up and down her spine.’
      • ‘‘David, I thought that we talked about this last year,’ a deep masculine voice rumbled dangerously.’
      • ‘Empathy and unapologetic emotion are her trademarks, evoked by a big voice that can rumble with lust or scream with self-hatred.’
      • ‘The deep base of his voice rumbled, echoing through the dim chamber.’
      • ‘Leon's tenor voice rumbled sweetly in her ear, and she blushed.’
      • ‘An elegant and delicate actress plays Tomi, but her voice rumbles like an old man.’
      • ‘The man's deep voice rumbled as he cast a depreciating look at Toni.’
      • ‘‘I'm Nicholas,’ he said firmly, his bass voice rumbling pleasantly as he held out a hand to the newcomer.’
      • ‘He answered the phone quickly, his deep voice rumbling through the line.’
    3. 1.3(of a person's stomach) make a deep, resonant sound due to hunger.
      ‘as she passed the buffet car her stomach rumbled’
      • ‘All he could do then was just sit, quietly, stomach rumbling, while his sister bustled about.’
      • ‘My stomach rumbles for want of food; my throat burns for lack of water.’
      • ‘I had begun my walk from the Alexanderplatz, and after having walked a considerable distance, I felt my stomach rumbling.’
      • ‘She left the store and headed over to the food court, her stomach rumbling.’
      • ‘I ducked out and got in line for breakfast, my stomach rumbling.’
      • ‘Her stomach rumbled with the thought of real food.’
      • ‘At midday I felt my stomach rumbling and I heard Dad's shout for me to go down to lunch.’
      • ‘So here we were, feeling faint with hunger, stomachs rumbling and no grub ready - and getting stiffer by the minute after our trek.’
      • ‘Three guesses on whose stomach was rumbling like mad.’
      • ‘She dressed quickly, her stomach rumbling all the while.’
      • ‘They also needed something to eat and all their stomachs rumbled from hunger.’
      • ‘Their pockets were virtually empty and their stomachs were rumbling with hunger.’
      • ‘It was approaching lunchtime and Jake's stomach was rumbling, but there were still a few more members of staff to speak to before he could think about eating.’
      • ‘Her stomach rumbled, so she decided to get something to eat.’
      • ‘Vivian had just realized that her stomach was rumbling with hunger.’
      • ‘I'd left this morning without food and now my stomach was rumbling.’
      • ‘Her stomach rumbled, but she put the thought of hunger out of her mind.’
      • ‘Eat before you go - if your stomach's rumbling while you're pushing the trolley up and down the food aisles, you're likely to put more in it.’
      • ‘My stomach was rumbling because I went to my room right after lunch, and although I had taken an apple and an orange from the kitchen counter, it didn't make up for my lack of dinner.’
      • ‘My stomach rumbles involuntarily; I am hungry and haven't even realised.’
    4. 1.4British (of a dispute) continue in a persistent but low-key way.
      ‘the debate about television replays rumbles on’
      • ‘And so the dispute rumbles on, while the pink-harled house at its centre seems almost an after-thought.’
      • ‘While this discussion seems to have been rumbling on for ever, the right decision has to be made, and all sides deserve a full hearing.’
      • ‘Methodist minister the Rev Ruth Parry said church members were elated that the planning wrangle, which had been rumbling on for many years, was finally over.’
      • ‘This thing's been rumbling on for months and it's got pretty nasty, but I didn't expect it to get to this stage.’
      • ‘The long-running firefighters' pay dispute rumbles on.’
      • ‘Plans to enhance the roundabout, situated at the southern end of Settle near the railway bridge, have been rumbling on for more than eight years.’
      • ‘Mr Campbell had wanted to demolish his 19th century home and neighbouring restaurant, Bellavista- but the plan has led to a dispute which has rumbled on for more than two years.’
      • ‘The row over what to do about the pigeons has been rumbling on for nearly four years and town councillors are angry that the district council is not moving faster.’
      • ‘A dispute over the removal of 21 public payphones from the Kendal area has rumbled on this week with the town council deciding to continue its protest against the decision.’
      • ‘Matters aren't helped by the fact that the bitter recriminations continue to rumble on.’
      • ‘No minister was going to worry about a pay dispute rumbling on in the mining industry.’
      • ‘The debate over the war economy continued to rumble on in the government.’
      • ‘The figure is lower than the increase which was sought by the taxi trade and is likely to continue the conflict that has rumbled on for three years between the council and the operators.’
      • ‘The stadium thing had been rumbling on for years and the time was right to get something up and running and approved.’
      • ‘This row has already been rumbling on for five years and another six months will hardly be sufficient to soften the uncompromising attitudes of the two sides.’
      • ‘The pay dispute has been rumbling on since the spring.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the row about Mr Appleyard's remarks was rumbling on.’
      • ‘Mr Walsh, an organist of international repute, had taken legal advice about such a move as the bitter dispute rumbled on.’
      • ‘‘This case has been rumbling on for six years and we are delighted that after all this time, the family have been given the chance to stay here,’ he said.’
      • ‘The arguments over how London's underground Tube network should be run continue to rumble on.’
  • 2British informal [with object] Discover (an illicit activity or its perpetrator)

    ‘it wouldn't need a genius to rumble my little game’
    • ‘Eventually, the person on the other end of the line will get the message that they have been rumbled.’
    • ‘I looked at the monitor, and discovered that the boys had been rumbled.’
    • ‘Their position would be highly dangerous, as the enemy never likes to be rumbled.’
    • ‘So we strung him along, waiting for him to rumble us or get bored.’
    • ‘The organization cites the example of Maria Rodriguez, who was rumbled while working under her husband's Social Security Number.’
    • ‘He told her too that he was single, but she rumbled him in July 2004 and ended the relationship.’
    • ‘Viewers were outraged when the link to the site was cut at 2am this morning - just as resident bad guy Nick was about to be rumbled.’
    • ‘In July we were going to elope to Gretna Green but I told my big mouthed brother who let it slip and we were rumbled.’
    • ‘Fortunately, as soon as they realised that their scheme had been rumbled by councillors, they slammed on the brakes.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, a couple of FBI agents have been sent along to rumble the gang and solve the murder.’
    • ‘He collected R4000 in wedding gifts - but a suspicious guest rumbled him and the game was up.’
    • ‘The gang were rumbled when a low bidder became suspicious after failing to win a contract and complained to the authorities.’
    • ‘Reade was rumbled in 1999 after bidders tried to buy goods from him on eBay.’
    • ‘The scam was only rumbled in September 2001, following an undercover police operation.’
    • ‘What if he knows Mick's upstairs, what if he's rumbled our game?’
    • ‘He was rumbled by police earlier this week after an American contacted the authorities when James failed to show up.’
    • ‘Crooks direct these illicit revenues to separate accounts in the hope they'll be able to draw out a sizable wedge by the time their ruse is rumbled.’
    • ‘Just when it looked like we had rumbled them, they perpetrated on us probably the greatest political confidence trick of the century.’
    • ‘One of those new thin fascistic speed cameras was looking beadily down on me and I knew it was only a matter of minutes before I was rumbled and some sort of motorway security would be on the scene.’
    discover, become aware, learn, detect, discern, perceive, observe, notice, note, come to know, get to know, work out, deduce, fathom out, realize
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  • 3US informal [no object] Take part in a street fight between gangs or large groups.

    ‘the five of them rumbled with the men in the other car’


  • 1A continuous deep, resonant sound like distant thunder.

    ‘the continuous rumble of traffic’
    figurative ‘there were of rumbles of discontent from small retailers’
    • ‘At first it was a distant rumble, then it was louder and louder.’
    • ‘Grey clouds rolled in from the south, deep rumbles of thunder accompanying them.’
    • ‘From somewhere in the distance comes an ominous rumble of thunder, barely perceptible over the nearby lawnmower.’
    • ‘Which brings us to last week's National Book Critics Circle awards, announced in New York City amid of few rumbles of dissension… which is the subject of today's column.’
    • ‘The deep rumble sounded again and this time, the entire place shook.’
    • ‘The air became moister and the deep rumble of the waterfall could be heard, it was certain that they were not far off.’
    • ‘He climbed into the car and started it up with a deep rumble and a jolt.’
    • ‘There was no answer, only the silence of the dust clearing and the distant rumble of motorway traffic.’
    • ‘A distant rumble arose from downriver as we gathered speed.’
    • ‘The heavy raindrops fell quickly and loudly, and the ominous rumble of thunder sounded in the distance.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, rumbles of surprising dissent are coming from military officers themselves, who have accused the administration of not sending in enough soldiers.’
    • ‘Still, there are rumbles in the industry that more than one firm will be found in violation of independence regulations.’
    • ‘He chuckled, a deep rumble from deep in his chest.’
    • ‘I heard a distant splash and a rumble of loud thunder.’
    • ‘But it was over so quickly that many people didn't realise that the shaking ground and strange deep rumble was actually an earthquake.’
    • ‘There has been a low rumble from deep within the community about the rights of the childless.’
    • ‘A deep rumble came up from the depths of his throat and his breathing quickened.’
    • ‘The deep rumble of tanks could be felt through the earth.’
    • ‘I could hear the distant rumble of thunder in the background but all sound was lost to my ears as Darius walked in.’
    • ‘Rimbaud's approach is minimalist, with a subtle array of grinding and plucking effects combining with the deep rumble of the base.’
    rumble, rumbling, boom, booming, roar, roaring, pounding, thud, thudding, thump, thumping, crash, crashing, bang, banging, ring, ringing, grumble, growl, resounding, reverberation, echo
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  • 2US informal A street fight between gangs or large groups.

    ‘a rumble between two gangs of street thugs’
    • ‘Clerks from both of their firms circled around the trash-talking combatants, as if this were some kind of Wall Street rumble.’
    • ‘Tensions and emotions ran high as both gangs headed for the chosen rumble spot at the football field.’
    • ‘He told me of the gang fights he experienced as a boy, including one memorable rumble when he was chased by a knife wielding opponent.’
    • ‘Ponyboy looks at the other boys who join his gang for the rumble.’
    • ‘The rumble was quickly controlled by nearby officers and my attention returned to more important matters.’
    fight, fist fight, skirmish, scuffle, tussle, fracas, scrimmage, fray, melee, rumpus, altercation, wrangle, clash, free-for-all, scrum, brouhaha, commotion, uproar
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Late Middle English: probably from Middle Dutch rommelen, rummelen, of imitative origin. Sense 2 of the verb may be a different word.