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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 somethingand 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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)
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.
stumble onor stumble upon
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.
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.
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.
stumbling block, a
An obstacle; a hindrance to progress or understanding. Originally this expression literally signified an object over which one tripped. It so appears in the Bible: “Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind” (Leviticus 19:13). In the course of time it began to be used figuratively as well, and in the twentieth century it was turned into a maxim: “Let us turn stumbling-blocks into stepping-stones” (John R. Mott, ca. 1925).