- The definition of a stumble is an act of making a minor mistake or of tripping or missing your step while running or walking.
An example of a stumble is when you forget your line in a play.
- Stumble means to make a minor mistake, or to trip and almost fall.
- When you make a mistake in your words as you are giving a speech, this is an example of when you stumble.
- When you catch your foot on a crack in the sidewalk and almost fall down, this is an example of when you stumble.
intransitive verb-·bled, -·bling
- to trip or miss one's step in walking, running, etc.
- to walk or go in an unsteady or awkward manner, as from age, weakness, etc.
- to speak, act, or proceed in a confused, blundering manner: to stumble through a speech
- to fall into sin or error; do wrong
- to come by chance; happen: to stumble across a clue
Origin of stumbleMiddle English stumblen from Scand, as in Norwegian dialect, dialectal stumba, Old Norse stumra from Indo-European base an unverified form stem-, to bump against, hamper from source stammer, German stumm, Dutch stom, mute
- to cause to stumble
- to puzzle or perplex; confound
- the act of stumbling
- a blunder, error, or sin
verbstum·bled, stum·bling, stum·bles
- a. To miss one's step in walking or running; trip and almost fall.b. To proceed unsteadily or falteringly; flounder. See Synonyms at blunder.c. To act or speak falteringly or clumsily: an inexperienced actor stumbling through his lines.
- To make a mistake or mistakes; blunder: The administration stumbled badly on foreign policy.
- To come upon accidentally or unexpectedly: “The urge to wider voyages … caused men to stumble upon New America” ( Kenneth Cragg )
- The act of stumbling.
- A mistake or blunder.
Origin of stumbleMiddle English stumblen probably of Scandinavian origin Old Norse stumra
(third-person singular simple present stumbles, present participle stumbling, simple past and past participle stumbled)
- (intransitive) To trip or fall; to walk clumsily.
- He stumbled over a rock.
- (intransitive) To make a mistake or have trouble.
- I always stumble over verbs in Spanish.
- To cause to stumble or trip.
- (figuratively) To mislead; to confound; to cause to err or to fall.
- To strike or happen (upon a person or thing) without design; to fall or light by chance; with on, upon, or against.