One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Feel or search with the hands; grope about.
fumble, scrabble, fish, ferret, ferret about, ferret around, rummage, rummage about, rummage around, rummage round, root about, root around, feel, cast about, cast around, cast round, search, hunt, lookView synonyms
- ‘I nodded, surprised, and wondering why I'd confide in a teacher, then grabbled my backpack and left the classroom.’
- ‘She grabbled the ball off the ground and flung it at his head, causing him to duck.’
- ‘They deserve to grabble in the dirt and get nothing for it but a dry gut-rumble.’
- ‘I managed to tread on another rock, which made me wobble a bit, Danielle quickly grabbling me to stop me plummeting over the side to my death.’
- 1.1 Sprawl or tumble on all fours.
Late 16th century: probably from Dutch grabbelen ‘scramble for a thing’, from Middle Dutch grabben (see grab).
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