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(ˈstambl) verb
1. to strike the foot against something and lose one's balance, or nearly fall. He stumbled over the edge of the carpet.
2. to walk unsteadily. He stumbled along the track in the dark.
3. to make mistakes, or hesitate in speaking, reading aloud etc. He stumbles over his words when speaking in public.
ˈstumbling-block noun
a difficulty that prevents progress.
stumble across/on
to find by chance. I stumbled across this book today in a shop.
References in classic literature ?
shouted the Pharisee, who belonged to the sect called The Dashers (that little knot of saints whose manner of dashing and lacerating the feet against the pavement was long a thorn and a reproach to less zealous devotees-a stumbling-block to less gifted perambulators)--"by the five corners of that beard which, as a priest, I am forbidden to shave
On the supposition that Pearl, as already hinted, was of demon origin, these good people not unreasonably argued that a Christian interest in the mother's soul required them to remove such a stumbling-block from her path.
The damsel is right," said the curate, "and it will be well to put this stumbling-block and temptation out of our friend's way.
He said this, madame: `Mazarin is a stumbling-block.