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rough and tumble

Rowdy, disorderly, and boisterous; marked by scuffles or infighting. An allusion to a boxing match in which there are no rules. Sometimes hyphenated when used before a noun. The kids started getting a bit too rough and tumble when their cousin Jake came over. It's healthy for them to have a bit of rough-and-tumble play, so long as they make time for quiet play, as well.
See also: and, rough, tumble

take a tumble

1. To fall suddenly to the ground, typically from stumbling or tripping. I took a bit of a tumble walking home last night, hence the bruises.
2. To suffer a sudden fall or decline, as of profits, health, quality, etc. The price of shares in the tech giant took a tumble on Tuesday after it emerged that they had been manipulating sales figures over the last five years. My father has been doing remarkably well in his battle with cancer, but he has taken a tumble in the last few days.
See also: take, tumble

the rough and tumble of (something)

The disorder, aggressive infighting, arguing, or competitiveness of something. An allusion to a boxing match in which there are no rules. I just wanted to make a difference to the people who lived in my community. I wasn't prepared for the rough and tumble of local politics.
See also: and, of, rough, tumble

tumble across (something)

1. Literally, to trip on something with one's foot. I wasn't watching where I was going and tumbled across the root of a tree. The child tumbled across the steps of the house.
2. To find, discover, or happen upon something casually or by chance. I tumbled across this fantastic little café the other day. Let me know if you tumble across my keys—I haven't been able to find them.
See also: across, tumble

tumble along

1. To roll, fall, or move forward end over end. Scientists estimate the asteroid has been tumbling along through space for hundreds of millions of years. We let go of the giant tractor wheels and watched them tumble along down the hill.
2. To move forward quickly, excitedly, or awkwardly. The kids stopped for a few minutes to look at the lions, then tumbled along to the next animal enclosure.
3. To move along the course (of some path) quickly, excitedly, or awkwardly. We tumbled along the path to the beach, giggling giddily as we went.
See also: tumble

tumble down

1. To collapse or come falling downward. He tripped on the wire running across the hallway and went tumbling down the stairs. The tower came tumbling down after the demolition crews set off the explosive charges.
2. To fall from a high rank or a position of power. That surprise loss sees the former champion tumble down from 1st to 6th place in the tournament leaderboards. The scandal brought the prime minister tumbling down from power. Stock prices have continued tumbling down as the president refuses to rule out a trade war with other nations.
See also: down, tumble

tumble from (something)

1. To fall end over end from some high location. Tom lost his footing and tumbled from the roof. My mother's favorite picture frame tumbled from the mantlepiece and shattered on the ground.
2. To suffer a decline from a high position of power, status, or fortune. That surprise loss sees the former champion tumble from 1st to 6th place in the tournament leaderboards. The scandal brought the prime minister tumbling from power. The company's stock tumbled from 200 to 175 dollars per share this afternoon following the CEO's resignation.
See also: tumble

tumble into (someone or something)

1. To stumble and collide with someone or something. We were all having fun rolling down the hill, but then Billy tumbled right into a tree and hurt his arm. The child tripped and tumbled into her father.
2. To collide with someone or something as a result of moving too quickly or, excitedly, or awkwardly. I hurried out of the elevator with all my things in my arms, and I ended up tumbling into my new boss. Talk about embarrassing! She turned the corner too quickly and tumbled into a lamppost.
3. To move into something or some place quickly, excitedly, or awkwardly. I was so tired that I just went upstairs and tumbled right into bed. Scores of shoppers came tumbling into the store to avail themselves of the incredible sale.
See also: tumble

tumble on (something)

1. Literally, to trip on something with one's foot. I wasn't watching where I was going and tumbled on the root of a tree. The child tumbled on the steps of the house.
2. To find, discover, or happen upon something casually or by chance. I tumbled on this fantastic little café the other day. Let me know if you tumble on my keys—I haven't been able to find them.
See also: on, tumble

tumble out (of something or some place)

1. To spill, fall, or plunge headlong out (of something). He had been hiding in the closet as a part of the game, and he came tumbling out when Meredith opened the door. So much stuff came tumbling out of the closet just now that I don't know how I'll ever get it all tidied away again.
2. To exit or move out (of something or some place) quickly, excitedly, or awkwardly. The moment the final school bell of the year rang, all the students came tumbling out at once. The two teenagers tumbled out of the convenience store, their stolen goods tucked inside their jackets.
See also: out, something, tumble

tumble over

1. To roll, pitch, or fall in some direction from an upright position. This sign keeps tumbling over in the wind. We'll need to secure it to the ground somehow. John tumbled over after the man knocked into him.
2. To fall down after tripping on someone or something. I kept tumbling over partygoers who had fallen asleep on the living room floor. The waiter tumbled over the suitcase the woman had left beside the table.
3. To go across (the edge or side of) something and plunge or plummet down. Tom lost his footing and tumbled over the edge of the roof. I was scared to death that one of the kids would tumble over the cliff. There wasn't even a guardrail in place!
See also: over, tumble

tumble to (something)

1. To fall or topple to some lower location or level. I feared the worst when I saw my grandfather tumble to the floor. He kicked the crate and watched it tumble to the basement.
2. obsolescent To arrive at some conclusion or understanding. I have since tumbled to the belief that animals prove far better companions than other people. It was only after the debt collectors began taking away our belongings that I tumbled to the reality of David's financial woes.
See also: tumble

tumble upon (something)

1. Literally, to trip on something with one's foot. I wasn't watching where I was going and tumbled upon the root of a tree. The child tumbled upon the steps of the house.
2. To find, discover, or happen upon something casually or by chance. I tumbled upon this fantastic little café the other day. Let me know if you tumble upon my keys—I haven't been able to find them.
See also: tumble, upon
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

rough-and-tumble

 and rough-and-ready
disorderly; aggressive. That was a rough-and-tumble football game. George is too rough-and-ready for me. He doesn't know how to act around civilized people.

tumble along

to roll or bounce along. The ball tumbled along, across the lawn and into the street. As the boulder tumbled along, it crushed everything in its path.
See also: tumble

tumble down

to fall down; to topple. The old barn was so rickety that it almost tumbled down on its own. The pile of books tumbled down all over the floor.
See also: down, tumble

tumble from something

to fall from something. The food tumbled from the tray and fell to the floor. The books tumbled from the shelf during the earthquake.
See also: tumble

tumble into bed

to get into or fall into bed. Liz went home and tumbled into bed.
See also: bed, tumble

tumble into someone or something

to fall down and roll into someone or something. (Either accidentally or on purpose.) Liz tripped and tumbled into the table. She tumbled into Ken.
See also: tumble

tumble out of something

to fall, topple, or drop out of something. Don't let the baby tumble out of the chair! Thechildren tumbled out of the car and ran for the school building.
See also: of, out, tumble

tumble over

to fall over. The vase tumbled over and broke. I held Timmy up to keep him from tumbling over.
See also: over, tumble

tumble over someone or something

to trip or stumble over someone or something and fall down. I tumbled over Fred, who was napping under the tree. I tumbled over a chair and fell down.
See also: over, tumble

tumble over (something)

to fall over the edge of something. Stay away from the edge. I don't want any of you tumbling over it. Don't go too close. You'll tumble over.
See also: over, tumble

tumble someone or something down something

to tip or push someone or something down something. Timmy tumbled his brother down the hill. Ann tumbled her laundry down the chute.
See also: down, tumble
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

rough and tumble

Disorderly scuffling or infighting, as in She had some reservations about entering the rough and tumble of local politics. This expression originated in the late 1700s in boxing, where it referred to a fight without rules. [Mid-1800s]
See also: and, rough, tumble
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

rough and tumble

COMMON You use rough and tumble to mean a situation in which there is a lot of arguing or competition and people do not worry about upsetting or harming others. Whoever expected leaders in the rough and tumble of electoral politics to be nice or fair? Note: You can use rough-and-tumble before a noun. He started his political career in the rough-and-tumble world of student politics. Note: You usually use this expression when you think that this is normal or acceptable behaviour. Note: Originally, a rough and tumble was a boxing match in which there were no rules or restrictions.
See also: and, rough, tumble
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

rough and tumble

a situation without rules or organization; a free-for-all.
The expression originated in 19th-century boxing slang.
See also: and, rough, tumble
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

rough and ˈtumble


1 a situation in which people compete with each other and are aggressive in order to get what they want: In the rough and tumble of politics you can’t trust anyone.
2 a noisy but not serious fight: The toddlers often join in the rough and tumble of the older children’s games.
See also: and, rough, tumble
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

tumble down

v.
1. To topple, as from power or a high position; fall: That horse started out the race in the lead, but tumbled down to fifth place.
2. To collapse: The wall tumbled down when I leaned on it.
See also: down, tumble

tumble on

or tumble upon
v.
To come upon something accidentally; happen on something: We tumbled on a nice restaurant while walking downtown.
See also: on, tumble

tumble to

v. Slang
To come to some sudden understanding; catch on to something: I tumbled to the reality that the other card players were cheating.
See also: tumble
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

rough and tumble

mod. disorderly; aggressive. George is too rough and tumble for me. He doesn’t know how to act around civilized people.
See also: and, rough, tumble
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

rough and tumble

Violent and disorderly action; a fight without rules. This early nineteenth-century Americanism may have originated in boxing—at least it was so defined by John Bartlett in 1859, although his work antedated the Queensberry rules of the ring by some years, and most boxing was of the rough-and-tumble variety. Nevertheless, the term was generally applied only to physical fights of various kinds until the second half of the century, when it began to be used more figuratively. Oliver Wendell Holmes (The Poet at the Breakfast-Table, 1872) wrote “That circle of rough-and-tumble political life.”
See also: and, rough, tumble
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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Reduction or replacement of sodium chloride in a tumbled ham product.
Diffusion of curing brine in tumbled and non-tumbled porcine tissue.
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The media and flash are tumbled in the drum screen, which allows the media and fines to fall through the holes, while the coarse flash is discharged out its end.
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