Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To search thoroughly by handling, turning over, or disarranging the contents of.
  • transitive v. To discover by searching thoroughly.
  • intransitive v. To make an energetic, usually hasty search.
  • n. A thorough search among a number of things.
  • n. A confusion of miscellaneous articles.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to arrange (cargo, goods, etc.) in the hold of a ship; to move or rearrange such goods.
  • v. to search a vessel for smuggled goods.
  • v. to search something which contains many items hastily by carelessly turning things over or pushing things aside.
  • v. to search something thoroughly and with disregard for the way in which things were arranged
  • v. to hastily search for something in a confined space and among many items by carelessly turning things over or pushing things aside.
  • n. commotion; disturbance
  • n. a thorough search, usually resulting in a disorder
  • n. an unorganized collection of miscellaneous objects; a jumble

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A place or room for the stowage of cargo in a ship; also, the act of stowing cargo; the pulling and moving about of packages incident to close stowage; -- formerly written romage.
  • n. A searching carefully by looking into every corner, and by turning things over.
  • transitive v. To make room in, as a ship, for the cargo; to move about, as packages, ballast, so as to permit close stowage; to stow closely; to pack; -- formerly written roomage, and romage.
  • transitive v. To search or examine thoroughly by looking into every corner, and turning over or removing goods or other things; to examine, as a book, carefully, turning over leaf after leaf.
  • intransitive v. To search a place narrowly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To adjust the roomage or capacity of (a ship) with reference to the cargo; arrange or stow the cargo of (a ship) in the hold; especially, to clear by the removal of goods: as, to rummage a ship.
  • To move to and fro the contents of, as in a search; ransack; hunt through; explore: as, to rummage a trunk.
  • To set in motion; stir; hence, specifically, to mix by stirring or some other form of agitation: as, to rummage a liquid.
  • To bring to light by searching.
  • To arrange or stow the cargo of a ship in the hold.
  • To search narrowly, especially by moving about and looking among the things in the place searched; execute a search.
  • To make a stir, bustle, or disturbance.
  • n. The act of rummaging, in any sense; the act of searching a place, especially by turning over the contents.
  • n. A stirring or bustling about; a disturbance; an upheaval.
  • n. Lumber; rubbish. Halliwell. [Prov. Eng.]

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a jumble of things to be given away
  • n. a thorough search for something (often causing disorder or confusion)
  • v. search haphazardly

Etymologies

From earlier romage, act of packing cargo, from French arrumage, from Old French, from arumer, to stow, from Old Provençal arumar : a-, to (from Latin ad-; see ad-) + perhaps run, ship's hold (of Germanic origin; see reuə- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old French arrumage (confer French arrimage), from arrumera ("to arrange the cargo in the hold") (confer French arrimer). Confer Spanish arrumar. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I have the address here somewhere * rummage, rummage* - ah, yes: 10 Rillington Place.

    Army Rumour Service

  • But it didn’t say “Don’t marry someone of a different belief” it said don’t marry foreigners. *let me dig out my trusty, well-worn, highligted bible, rummage rummage*

    The Definition of Marriage in 1886

  • Speaking of which, the sauce was what I like to call a rummage recipe.

    Archive 2006-08-01

  • He lives in the trailer park that Sandra lived in, and it was his church as you heard the sergeant addressing earlier in the press conference, was -- this suitcase that Sandra was apparently found in may have been at least reportedly headed for some kind of rummage sale, and may have been stolen.

    CNN Transcript Apr 8, 2009

  • If she, Betty, could be allowed to "rummage" through it!

    A Little Girl in Old Boston

  • Casually sneaking into Schuster Mannheim or Mendip’s room at the Regent for a rummage was a fantasy.

    Walls of Silence

  • Scuffles broke out after 2,000 people descended on an American Apparel 'rummage' sale in Brick Lane yesterday morning.

    Top stories from Times Online

  • Scuffles broke out at the American Apparel "rummage" sale in Brick Lane, east London, when 2,000 shoppers arrived for the event.

    icCheshireOnline

  • A mass "rummage" sale in east London on Friday which attracted more than 2,000 people was cancelled after 10 police officers were allegedly injured by unruly shoppers.

    All - Digital Spy - Entertainment and Media News

  • Three people were arrested after the scrum at the American Apparel "rummage" event in Brick Lane, east London, on Friday.

    Telegraph.co.uk: news, business, sport, the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Sunday Telegraph

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