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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 ?
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.
Under cover of his character of singing-master, he made frequent visits at the farmhouse; not that he had anything to apprehend from the meddlesome interference of parents, which is so often a stumbling-block in the path of lovers.
Occasionally, he was tripped up by some orthographical stumbling-block, but on the whole he got on very well indeed, and when he had signed his name, and had removed a finishing blot from the paper to the crown of his head with his two forefingers, he got up and hovered about the table, trying the effect of his performance from various points of view as it lay there, with unbounded satisfaction.
I grant thee, Nathan, that it is a dwelling of those to whom the despised Children of the Promise are a stumbling-block and an abomination; yet thou knowest that pressing affairs of traffic sometimes carry us among these bloodthirsty Nazarene soldiers, and that we visit the Preceptories of the Templars, as well as the Commanderies of the Knights Hospitallers, as they are called.
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.