stumble

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Related to stumbled: stumbled across

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

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).
See also: stumble
References in periodicals archive ?
2 : to walk unsteadily <She stumbled around in the dark.>
Police Inspector Elen Reeves said: "We stumbled across the small but sophisticated growing operation completely by accident, but a bit of luck in the fight against drugs is always welcome - the community will be a better place now these have been taken off the streets".
And his famous dancing legs let him down as he stumbled into their chauffeur-driven car.
Vincent Uzomah, 50, stumbled from the classroom and collapsed in a corridor with blood pouring from his stomach.
If you have recently traveled to a German city such as Berlin, Hamburg, or Freiburg you may have stumbled across a small brass marker laid into the sidewalk.
Wales striker Ched Evans and Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald, both 23, were on a night out in Rhyl, North Wales, last May bank holiday weekend when the teenager "literally stumbled across their path."
AUSTRALIAN prime minister Julia Gillard stumbled and was caught by a security guard as riot police helped her force a path through a crowd of rowdy protesters during a ceremony to mark Australia's national day.
Ms Gillard, who was born in Barry before her family emigrated to Australia, stumbled, losing a shoe.
Yesterday's highlights The Desert Orchid Chase exploded into life from an in-running perspective at the fifth-last when Finian's Rainbow (SP of 4-11) and Wishfull Thinking (100-30) both stumbled on landing and handed the initiative to Oiseau De Nuit.
A GREAT-grandmother may have stumbled into the path of an oncoming car that killed her, an inquest heard.
IF you have stumbled along the course of life's journey, there is hope.
In predicting a 2-1 win for Wigan against Villa, Lawrenson wrote: "Villa stumbled last week and I am pretty sure they will do so again."
The 80s singer drunkenly stumbled out of London's trendy Sketch bar, but quickly stumbled back in again when she spotted Damien Lewis - the actor who made ginger men sexy.
Des Lynam and Mary Night-ingale in a Christmas special stumbled on the pounds 64,000 question: ``Which word with a the-atrical connection derivesfrom the Greek word meaning `to dance'?''
The characters in Hitchcock's thrillers may have been naive innocents who stumbled into foreign intrigues, and America in the early 1940s may have been a relatively minor player in geopolitics and the global economy.