‘Grumble’ hit me from a few angles in the last week: a challenge (to choose not to complain), a reference to thunder (grumbling and rumbling) and the assertion that the word is of Dutch origin … So, having worked on a few Dunglishy documents in the past fortnight …

/ˈgrʌmbəl/ (say ‘grumbuhl) verb (grumbled, grumbling) –verb (i) 1. to murmur in discontent; complain ill-humouredly. 2. to utter low, indistinct sounds; growl. 3. to rumble: the thunder grumbled. –verb (t) 4. to express or utter with murmuring or complaining. –noun 5. an ill-humoured complaining; murmur; growl. 6. (plural) a grumbling, discontented mood. 7. a rumble.

With thanks to the very useful Macquarie Dictionary online (yes, I subscribe, do you?)

Grumble’s origin is a little unclear, but most sources mention Germanic origin, Middle Dutch and/or Middle French. There seems to be agreement that ‘grumble’ in its current form and meanings entered English in the late 16th century – first in the sense of complaining (1580) and shortly after as a rumbling sound (1590).

As I write this, the thunder IS grumbling away in the not-so-distant distance … a storm is brewing.

Trivia: did you know that a group of pugs is called ‘a grumble’? Well, if not, now you do!