stumble


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Related to stumble: stumble into

stumble at a straw

To be thwarted or unsettled by a minor issue or problem. Overall, your grades are great, so don't stumble at a straw and abandon your studies because of this one B. You can't rely on Kelsey, she always stumbles at a straw and gets rattled by the slightest problem.
See also: straw, stumble

stumbling block

A challenge or hindrance that prevents something from being accomplished. Stay away from your old friends—their drug use will be a stumbling block in your recovery from alcoholism. We're trying to sell the house, but its undesirable location has proved to be a real stumbling block.
See also: block, stumble

stumble across (something)

To find, discover, or encounter something casually or by chance. I stumbled across this fantastic little café the other day. Let me know if you stumble across my keys. I haven't been able to find them.
See also: across, stumble

stumble upon (something)

1. Literally, to trip on something with one's foot. I wasn't watching where I was going and stumbled upon the root of a tree. The child stumbled upon the steps of the house.
2. To find, discover, or happen upon something casually or by chance. I stumbled upon this fantastic little café the other day. Let me know if you stumble upon my keys—I haven't been able to find them. While researching ways of boosting the immune system, the team ended up stumbling upon a remarkable new method of treating cancer.
See also: stumble, upon

stumble on (something)

1. Literally, to trip on something with one's foot. I wasn't watching where I was going and stumbled on the root of a tree. The child stumbled on the steps of the house.
2. To find, discover, or happen upon something casually or by chance. I stumbled on this fantastic little café the other day. Let me know if you stumble on my keys—I haven't been able to find them. While researching ways of boosting the immune system, the team ended up stumbling on a remarkable new method of treating cancer.
See also: on, stumble

the stumbles

An inability to walk steadily or in a straight line. I'm such a lightweight. I start getting the stumbles after just a couple glasses of wine! Low blood sugar made him lightheaded and gave him the stumbles.
See also: stumble

stumble into (someone or something)

1. To collide with someone or something after tripping or walking unsteadily. Someone pushed me and I ended up stumbling right into the principal. I could tell John was drunk by the way he was stumbling into things on the way to the bathroom.
2. To enter some place while or as a result of tripping or walking unsteadily. I lost my balance and accidentally stumbled into the wrong classroom. A bumbling stagehand stumbled into the scene right in the middle of the play.
3. To become involved or embroiled with something casually, accidentally, or by chance. The accountant stumbled into the world of organized crime after being contracted by a mob boss to file his taxes. I actually stumbled into this job when I happened to get chatting with the company's CEO at a café a few years back.
See also: stumble

stumble onto (something)

To discover something casually, accidentally, or by chance. While researching ways of boosting the immune system, the team ended up stumbling onto a remarkable new method of treating cancer. The accountant stumbled onto a huge conspiracy involving politicians from around the world.
See also: stumble

stumble over (someone or something)

1. To trip and almost fall as a result of bumping into someone or something. I stumbled over a box someone had set down in the hallway. She stumbled over the people sleeping on the living room floor as she made her way to the kitchen.
2. To push and shove someone else out of the way, as to get some place or in order to do something. People were stumbling over each other to get their pictures taken with the famous actor. The kids stumbled over each other to get into the ice cream parlor.
3. To have difficulty saying something clearly or correctly; to stutter or stammer while trying to say something. The actors stumbled over their lines and talked over each other constantly. They really needed more time to rehearse. He tried asking her on a date, but he was so nervous that he kept stumbling over his words.
See also: over, stumble

stumble through (something)

1. To make one's way through something or some place with unsteady or faltering steps. I could tell by the way he was stumbling through the bar that he'd had too much to drink. The woman was stumbling through the streets muttering to herself. I stumbled through the hallway half asleep looking for the bathroom.
2. To progress through some performance or recitation with great difficulty or in an awkward, faltering manner. We both forgot our lines, so we just stumbled through the scene as best we could. He stumbled a bit through the middle of his speech, but overall it went pretty well.
See also: stumble, through

stumblebum

1. Someone who is clumsy or bumbling in their movement or behavior. He always turns into such a stumblebum after a couple glasses of wine. I've been a stumblebum my whole life. Maybe clumsiness is just genetic.
2. Someone who stutters, stammers, or rambles when they speak. He's a great actor, but he's such a stumblebum when he's being interviewed that it is hard to take him seriously. I have no problem talking to small groups of people, but I turn into a total stumblebum when I'm in front of a big audience.
3. A drunkard. His old man's been a stumblebum for years. It's why he can't hold down a steady job. The thought of becoming a useless stumblebum like my mother was enough to keep me away from alcohol my whole life.
4. Someone who muddles their way through something in an inept, haphazard manner; a blundering, incompetent fool. With a stumblebum like him running the company, it's hard to believe we haven't gone bankrupt yet. She may have been an amazing businesswoman, but she is has been absolute stumblebum as our governor.

stumble-bumble

1. Someone who muddles their way through something in an inept, haphazard manner; a blundering, incompetent fool. With a stumble-bumble like him running the company, it's hard to believe we haven't gone bankrupt yet. She may have been an amazing businesswoman, but she is has been absolute stumble-bumble as our governor.
2. dated slang Any powerful, addictive narcotic, especially a barbiturate. Typically used in plural constructions. The officer could tell the two suspects were high off their gourds on stumble-bumbles.

stumble across someone or something

 and stumble (up)on someone or something; stumble into someone or something
to find someone or something, usually by accident. I stumbled across an interesting book yesterday when I was shopping. Guess who I stumbled into at the library yesterday? I got lucky and stumbled on the right answer.
See also: across, stumble

stumble into someone or something

 
1. to trip and lurch into someone or something. Not seeing the brick in the path, Carl tripped and stumbled into Alice. Jamie stumbled into the wall.
2. Go to stumble across someone or something.
See also: stumble

stumble on someone or something

 
1. Go to stumble across someone or something.
2. to trip over someone or something. There were three of us sleeping in the small tent. Each of us would stumble on the others whenever we went out or came in. I stumbled on the curb and twisted my ankle.
See also: on, stumble

stumble over someone or something

to trip over someone or something. Tom stumbled over Bill, who was napping on the floor. Don't stumble over the laundry basket.
See also: over, stumble

stumble through something

to get through a sequence of something awkwardly and falteringly. The cast stumbled through the first act and barely finished the second. Mary stumbled through her speech and fled from the stage.
See also: stumble, through

stumbling block

Fig. something that prevents or obstructs progress. We'd like to buy that house, but the high price is a stumbling block. Jim's age is a stumbling block to getting another job. He's over sixty.
See also: block, stumble

stumble across

Also, stumble on. Find by chance, discover or meet with unexpectedly. For example, When we were hiking up the mountain we stumbled across a few abandoned shepherd's huts , or At the flea market Alfred stumbled on a quite valuable old lithograph. This idiom uses stumble in the sense of "accidentally trip." [Mid-1500s]
See also: across, stumble

stumbling block

A hindrance or obstacle, as in His lack of a degree is a real stumbling block to his advancement. This term originally meant "a tree stump over which one trips." Its figurative use dates from the early 1500s.
See also: block, stumble

a stumbling block

COMMON If you describe something as a stumbling block, you mean it is a problem which stops you from achieving something. It's her attitude that's the biggest stumbling block. Cost is a major stumbling block in the hunt for a vaccine. Note: This expression comes from the Bible: `...that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.' (Romans 14:13)
See also: block, stumble

stumble across

v.
To come upon someone or something accidentally or unexpectedly: I had given up finding my keys when I stumbled across them lying under the dresser. On my way to work this morning, I stumbled across an old friend I hadn't seen in years.
See also: across, stumble

stumble on

or stumble upon
v.
1. To trip and almost fall on account of hitting the foot or stepping on something: He stumbled on the curb and fell. She stumbled upon a tree root.
2. To come upon something accidentally or unexpectedly: I happened to stumble on my jacket when I wasn't even looking for it. The detective stumbled upon the truth while thinking about something else.
See also: on, stumble

stumblebum

n. a tramp or bum, especially drunk and stumbling. The poor old stumblebum got to the other side of the street the best he could.

stumbles

(ˈstəmblæz)
1. and stum [st?m] and stumble-bumbles (ˈstəmblæˈbəmblæz) n. barbiturates; sedatives; tranquilizers; alcohol. (Drugs.) Kelly was shocked to find a handful of stumble-bumbles in his brother’s jeans.
2. n. the inability to stand up and walk straight. I guess I have the stumbles today. Not enough sleep, I guess.
See also: stumble

stumble-bumbles

verb
References in periodicals archive ?
We also cause youth to stumble when we refuse to spend money on them.
As Jack and Tyler descend into the caves they stumble upon a fascinating lost world, where a deadly species waits, hungry for fresh human flesh.
During the experimental phase of the study, Huang is collecting data from able-bodied individuals and those using prosthetic legs to determine what kind of physiological signals can be detected for use in developing a stumble detection system.
The stumble saw him go out to 11, but Hutchinson galvanised his mount to take it up just after the last to score.
The former EastEnder loved the script of ITV's new two-part drama Walk Away And I Stumble as soon as she read it.
A spokeswoman for the royal family said: "She was perfectly all right when she returned to Clarence House - she did stumble but was unhurt.
In the end he was beaten ten lengths, and but for that stumble it could well have been only five.
The Doctor and Rose stumble across Queen Victoria (Pauline Collins) who is stumbling into a trap laid by marauding kung-fu fighting monks - who have ditched God to worship a demonic werewolf.
Beaumont said that he was thrilled with the way the expedition had worked and hoped that the Ascot management might stumble across equivalent exotic runners for next year's meeting.
Avoiding manifest dangers of the winter landscape will help minimize the dangers of falling, but still we stumble.