Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Wikipedia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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