What does stumble mean?

Definitions for stumble
ˈstʌm bəlstum·ble

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word stumble.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. lurch, stumble, staggernoun

    an unsteady uneven gait

  2. trip, trip-up, stumble, misstepverb

    an unintentional but embarrassing blunder

    "he recited the whole poem without a single trip"; "he arranged his robes to avoid a trip-up later"; "confusion caused his unfortunate misstep"

  3. stumble, falter, bumbleverb

    walk unsteadily

    "The drunk man stumbled about"

  4. stumble, tripverb

    miss a step and fall or nearly fall

    "She stumbled over the tree root"

  5. stumble, hitverb

    encounter by chance

    "I stumbled across a long-lost cousin last night in a restaurant"

  6. stumble, slip up, trip upverb

    make an error

    "She slipped up and revealed the name"


  1. stumblenoun

    a fall, trip or substantial misstep

  2. stumblenoun

    an error or blunder

  3. stumbleverb

    to trip or fall

    He stumbled over a rock.

  4. stumbleverb

    to make a mistake or have trouble

    I always stumble over verbs in Spanish.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Stumblenoun

    Etymology: from the verb.

    One stumble is enough to deface the character of an honourable life. Roger L'Estrange.

  2. To Stumbleverb

    Such terms amus’d them all,
    And stumbled many. John Milton, Paradise Lost.

    One thing more stumbles me in the very foundation of this hypothesis. John Locke.

  3. To STUMBLEverb

    Etymology: This word Franciscus Junius derives from stump, and says the original meaning is to strike or trip against astump. I rather think it comes from tumble.

    When she will take the rein, I let her run;
    But she’ll not stumble. William Shakespeare, Winter’s Tale.

    A headstall being restrained to keep him from stumbling, hath been often burst. William Shakespeare, Taming of the Shrew.

    As we pac’d along
    Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,
    Methought that Glo’ster stumbled; and, in falling,
    Struck me, that sought to stay him, overboard. William Shakespeare.

    The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. Prov. iv. 19.

    Cover’d o’er with blood,
    Which from the patriot’s breast in torrents flow’d,
    He faints: his steed no longer hears the rein;
    But stumbles o’er the heap his hand had slain. Matthew Prior.

    He that loveth his brother, abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 1 Jo. ii. 10.

    This my day of grace
    They who neglect and scorn, shall never taste;
    But hard be harden’d, blind be blinded more,
    That they may stumble on, and deeper fall. John Milton.

    This extreme dealing had driven her to put herself with a great lady of that country, by which occasion she had stumbled upon such mischances as were little for the honour of her or her family. Philip Sidney.

    What man art thou, that, thus bescreen’d in night,
    So stumblest on my counsel. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.

    A mouse, bred in a chest, dropped out over the side, and stumbled upon a delicious morsel. Roger L'Estrange.

    Ovid stumbled, by some inadvertency, upon Livia in a bath. Dryden.

    Many of the greatest inventions have been accidentally stumbled upon by men busy and inquisitive. John Ray.

    Write down p and b, and make signs to him to endeavour to pronounce them, and guide him by shewing him the motion of your own lips; by which he will, with a little endeavour, stumble upon one of them. William Holder, Elements of Speech.


  1. Stumble

    Stumble is 2003 Indian English-language film written and directed by Prakash Belawadi in his debut. It stars Anant Nag and Suhasini Maniratnam in the lead roles. Mukhyamantri Chandru, Ashok Mandanna and Priya Ganapathy feature in supporting roles. Set in Bangalore, the film explores the impact of corruption in the information technology world, the stock market and mutual funds scams and dot-com bubble on ordinary people. Praveen D. Rao scored music for the film while Clay Kelton served as the cinematographer. The film opened to mixed reviews from critics upon theatrical release. At the 50th National Film Awards, the film was awarded the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English.


  1. stumble

    Stumble is a verb which generally means to trip or momentarily lose balance while walking or running. It can also refer to making unintentional mistakes or hindrances in speech, performance, or course of action. In a broader, metaphorical sense, it may also mean to encounter or experience difficulties or challenges.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Stumbleverb

    to trip in walking or in moving in any way with the legs; to strike the foot so as to fall, or to endanger a fall; to stagger because of a false step

  2. Stumbleverb

    to walk in an unsteady or clumsy manner

  3. Stumbleverb

    to fall into a crime or an error; to err

  4. Stumbleverb

    to strike or happen (upon a person or thing) without design; to fall or light by chance; -- with on, upon, or against

  5. Stumbleverb

    to cause to stumble or trip

  6. Stumbleverb

    fig.: To mislead; to confound; to perplex; to cause to err or to fall

  7. Stumblenoun

    a trip in walking or running

  8. Stumblenoun

    a blunder; a failure; a fall from rectitude

  9. Etymology: [OE. stumblen, stomblen; freq. of a word akin to E. stammer. See Stammer.]


  1. Stumble

    Stumble is Prakash Belawadi's debut film. It won the Indian National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English in 2003. It depicts the new economy, the dot-com bust, stock market scams, mutual funds, and voluntary retirement. The production team intended Stumble to be a film for the middle-class Ananth Nag and Suhasini are in the lead rôles, alongside Priya Ganapati and Allen Mandonca. Belawadi found his cast through the theatre world of Bangalore, and was wholly filmed there. Jesu Domnic and Shyam Nanjundaiah were Editors for this movie. One of the editors Shyam Nanjundaiah also played a small part in the film, appearing alongside Ananth Nag for a brief scene. The movie was featured at the international technical festival, Pragyan at NIT Trichy in January 2006. It was also screened at the Mumbai National Film Festival.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Stumble

    stum′bl, v.i. to strike the feet against something, to trip in walking: to light on by chance (with upon): to slide into crime or error.—v.t. to cause to trip or stop: to puzzle.—n. a trip in walking or running: a blunder: a failure.—ns. Stum′bler, one who stumbles; Stum′bling-block, -stone, a block or stone over which one would be likely to stumble: a cause of error.—adv. Stum′blingly.—adj. Stum′bly, apt to stumble. [Skeat explains the b as excrescent, the M. E. stomblen, stomelen, stumlen, also stomeren being from Ice. stumra, to stumble. It is thus a doublet of stammer.]

Editors Contribution

  1. stumbleverb

    The Greek word skandalizo has a root meaning of snare or trap but has no real English counterpart, just the same as "Take offense".

    Moses and Jesus Christ was born with a Stumble to be murdered for a price that raged God to take offense.

    Etymology: War

    Submitted by Tehorah_Elyon on September 10, 2023  

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'stumble' in Verbs Frequency: #1045

How to pronounce stumble?

How to say stumble in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of stumble in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of stumble in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of stumble in a Sentence

  1. Alan McEwen:

    The palmettos out there alone are enough to trip you up, when you're walking through them, when you you stumble through them, the mosquitos will carry you off, anybody out there more than a day without mosquito spray, you'd go insane with the bugs getting you and everything else.

  2. Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

    The works of women are symbolical. We sew, sew, prick our fingers, dull our sight, producing what? A pair of slippers, sir, to put on when you're weary -- or a stool. To stumble over and vex you... curse that stool! Or else at best, a cushion, where you lean and sleep, and dream of something we are not, but would be for your sake. Alas, alas! This hurts most, this... that, after all, we are paid the worth of our work, perhaps.

  3. Scott C. Holstad:

    i got the fear deep inside breathing hard i run to avoid the glare the pain of the lights the stares intrude invade i stumble up the stairs avoid inquisitive eye contact the darker you are the harder you die and they don't never care – i need to rest

  4. Winston Churchill:

    Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.

  5. Sir Winston Churchill:

    Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened.

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Translations for stumble

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • zakopnoutCzech
  • [[begå]] [[fejl]], fejltrin, fejle, fejl, snublen, snubleDanish
  • staksen, Fehltritt, Ausrutscher, Fehler, Schnitzer, Patzer, stolpernGerman
  • torpeza, tropezón, caminar torpemente, tropiezo, tropezar, deslizSpanish
  • سکندریPersian
  • virhe, kompuroida, kompastua, kompastus, mokaFinnish
  • trébucher, chute, bourde, faux pasFrench
  • tersandungIndonesian
  • scivolone, scivolareItalian
  • 넘어질 뻔하다Korean
  • kluptLatvian
  • tapepa, tapepe, tūtukiMāori
  • strompelen, struikelenDutch
  • snubleNorwegian
  • tropeço, tropeçarPortuguese
  • mitk'ayQuechua
  • спотыкаться, спотыкание, ошибаться, оступаться, проступокRussian
  • snubblaSwedish
  • สะดุดThai
  • 絆倒Chinese

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"stumble." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 30 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/stumble>.

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    a feeling of strong eagerness (usually in favor of a person or cause)
    A hypernym
    B elan
    C jab
    D reciprocal

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