From King Dictionary of Contemporary Englishstumblestum‧ble /ˈstʌmbəl/ ●○○ verb [intransitive] 1 FALLto hit your foot against something or put your foot down awkwardly while you are walking or running, so that you almost fall SYN trip In her hurry, she stumbled and spilled the milk all over the floor.stumble over/on Vic stumbled over the step as he came in.see thesaurus at fall2 WALKto walk in an unsteady way and often almost fall SYN staggerstumble in/out/across etc He stumbled upstairs and into bed.3 MISTAKEto stop or make a mistake when you are reading to people or speakingstumble over/at/through I hope I don’t stumble over any of the long words.stumble noun [countable] stumble on/across/upon something→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
stumbleShe begun to run, stumbling.As she stumbled along the path, she began to sob.In her hurry, Eva stumbled and dropped the tray she was carrying.She stumbled backward, out of range, but he stepped toward her and raised his stick again.One runner stumbled, but was able to regain her balance.As they stumbled lower one sound rose up to meet them.Mason headed towards the house, stumbling on the rough ground.They stumble over simple words or figures.He stumbled over the upturned pot but scrambled back to his feet.The room was dark, and Stan nearly fell over a chair as he stumbled to the phone.I finished the whiskey, then stumbled upstairs and into bed.stumble over/onIt emerged as the most successful of the dozen experiments, largely because it stumbled on a different way of doing business.Fleischmann and Pons believed that they had stumbled on another way - intense pressures provided by the natural make-up of solid palladium.All there was left to do was to stumble on, dutifully following the tracks on the ground as they appeared.Swinton thinks perhaps she stumbled on Orlando in the school library.Then in 1967 he stumbled on the bizarre internecine warfare of the genes that we shall meet in chapter 4.Once he stumbled on the cobbles.He stumbled over the curb as he crossed the street.But Smolan says he stumbled on the idea in 1994 while sharing Thanksgiving dinner with college friends.He stumbled over the upturned pot but scrambled back to his feet.stumble in/out/across etcYou might stumble across a phrase or image that seems possible, but as a whole this faux scrapbook reeks.And that was really it until I stumble across her at the Pierpont Morgan Library.I stumbled across one shack, but was lucky this farmer was easy going.He heard the President stumble in the bathroom.For a few moments she would hear him stumbling in the dark outside, groping his way to the road.He pushed himself back up on to his feet again and started to stumble across the sand to the village.They had stumbled in upon what was quite clearly nothing less than a pagan sacrifice.stumble over/at/throughMiguel got the serious giggles as he ran from the car, stumbling over bricks.I've never seen such terrible country; it was a constant stumble over grassy hummocks and peat-bogs.I stumbled over him when he was visiting Ted Yaxlee.Harrison stumbled through his speech.He stumbled over his words as he read his speech from a Teleprompter.He is a man who stumbles through life going through various coincidences and improbabilities.I patted the night table down and stumbled over my glasses.The khthon stumbled over the response.Interestingly even organizations known for effectively managing through change stumble at times over that mistake.
Origin stumble (1300-1400) Probably from a Scandinavian language