I came across the wonderful word bimble (/bɪmbəl/) yesterday for the first time and guessed it meant something like “to do something in a relaxed fashion”. The OED defines it as “To move at a leisurely pace, esp. on foot; to amble, wander.” and cites a book by R. McGowan & J. Hands called Don’t Cry for Me, Sergeant Major from 1983 as its earliest appearance in writing. Elsewhere in the OED suggests that though the word is thought to have been coined by British soliders in the Falklands, it might have come from the northeast of England.

Wiktionary defines it as “A gentle, meandering walk with no particular haste or purpose.” (noun), and “To walk with no particular haste or purpose.” (verb). It might be a variant on bumble.

Have you heard it before?

I like words like this that end in mble, such as bumble, amble, fumble, scramble, bramble and thimble. To me the combination of sounds in them is pleasing to the ear.

This entry was posted in English, Language, Words and phrases.

4 Responses to Bimbling

  1. Zeppelin says:

    German has “bummeln”, which means the same thing, and according to the Duden comes from Low German. Cognates, maybe?

  2. David Eger says:

    I remember hearing the word ‘bimble’ mentioned on BBC Radio 4 a few years ago. It was suggested that it was a newly coined word. It is possible, however, that it has been in local usage for a long time and only recently made it into general usage. It’s connection with both ‘bumble’ and ‘bummeln’ seems plausible, although ‘bumble’ -when applied to a human being, at least – tends to have rather negative connotations (‘a bumbling fool’), which ‘bimble’ does not (I’m not sure about ‘bummeln’).

    Could there also be a connection with ‘bum’ (= tramp or lazy person)?

  3. Jim Morrison says:

    At the Glastonbury festival, they usually have a marquee tent that is set up as a pub.
    It is called the ‘Bimble Inn’. I suppose because people just bimble in and get a beer!

    I think I also remember this from German, herumbummeln – to wander around!

  4. Can you nimbly bumble? I think not. No one in their right mind would ramble through the brambles, never mind nimbly or not. Bimble sounds like something a bumbling simpleton would do.

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