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

  • intransitive v. To miss one's step in walking or running; trip and almost fall.
  • intransitive v. To proceed unsteadily or falteringly; flounder. See Synonyms at blunder.
  • intransitive v. To act or speak falteringly or clumsily.
  • intransitive v. To make a mistake; blunder.
  • intransitive v. To fall into evil ways; err.
  • intransitive v. To come upon accidentally or unexpectedly: "The urge to wider voyages . . . caused men to stumble upon New America” ( Kenneth Cragg).
  • transitive v. To cause to stumble.
  • n. The act of stumbling.
  • n. A mistake or blunder.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a fall, trip or substantial misstep
  • n. an error or blunder
  • v. to trip or fall
  • v. to make a mistake or have trouble

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A trip in walking or running.
  • n. A blunder; a failure; a fall from rectitude.
  • intransitive v. 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.
  • intransitive v. To walk in an unsteady or clumsy manner.
  • intransitive v. To fall into a crime or an error; to err.
  • intransitive v. To strike or happen (upon a person or thing) without design; to fall or light by chance; -- with on, upon, or against.
  • transitive v. To cause to stumble or trip.
  • transitive v. Fig.: To mislead; to confound; to perplex; to cause to err or to fall.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To slip or trip in moving on the feet; make a false step; strike the foot, or miss footing, so as to stagger or fall.
  • To move or act unsteadily or in a staggering manner; trip in doing or saying anything; make false steps or blunders, as from confusion or inattention: as, to stumble through a performance.
  • To take a false step or be staggered mentally or morally; trip, as against a stumbling-block; find an occasion of offense; be offended or tempted.
  • To come accidentally or unexpectedly; chance; happen; light: with on or upon.
  • To cause to stumble; cause to trip; stagger; trip up.
  • To puzzle; perplex; embarrass; nonplus; confound.
  • n. The act of stumbling; a trip in walking or running.
  • n. A blunder; a failure; a false step.

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

  • v. miss a step and fall or nearly fall
  • n. an unintentional but embarrassing blunder
  • v. walk unsteadily
  • v. encounter by chance
  • v. make an error
  • n. an unsteady uneven gait


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

Middle English stumblen, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse stumra.



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