Pounce vs Tumble - What's the difference?

pounce | tumble |

In transitive terms the difference between pounce and tumble

is that pounce is to stamp holes in; to perforate while tumble is to smooth and polish a rough surface on relatively small parts.

In intransitive terms the difference between pounce and tumble

is that pounce is to eagerly seize an opportunity while tumble is to fall end over end.



Etymology 1

From (etyl) ponce, from (etyl) pumex.


  • (historical) A type of fine powder, as of sandarac, or cuttlefish bone, sprinkled over wet ink to dry the ink after writing.
  • (historical) Charcoal dust, or some other coloured powder for making patterns through perforated designs, used by embroiderers, lace makers, etc.
  • Verb

  • To sprinkle or rub with pounce powder.
  • to pounce paper, or a pattern

    Etymology 2

    From (etyl), probably akin to punch. Possibly from (etyl) ponchonner (compare French ).


    (en noun)
  • The claw or talon of a bird of prey.
  • (Burke)
  • A punch or stamp.
  • * Withals
  • a pounce to print money with
  • Cloth worked in eyelet holes.
  • (Homilies)


  • To leap into the air intending to seize someone or something.
  • ''The kitten pounced at the ball I threw to him
    She pounced on the young man, because she loved him and wanted him for herself.
  • To attack suddenly by leaping.
  • ''I was awakened from a dead sleep by my child pouncing on top of me from out of nowhere.
  • To eagerly seize an opportunity.
  • I pounced on the chance to get promoted.
  • * {{quote-news
  • , year=2011 , date=March 2 , author=Chris Whyatt , title=Arsenal 5 - 0 Leyton Orient , work=BBC citation , page= , passage=Irish debutant Conor Henderson - another ball-playing midfielder - probed for a gap through the back-line and the 19-year-old's deflected pass was pounced on by Tomas Rosicky, who sped to the byeline to clip a square ball through the legs of Charlie Daniels across the box. }}
  • To strike or seize with the talons; to pierce, as with the talons.
  • * Cowper
  • Stooped from his highest pitch to pounce a wren.
  • * J. Fletcher
  • Now pounce him lightly, / And as he roars and rages, let's go deeper.
  • To stamp holes in; to perforate.
  • Synonyms
    * (instance of propelling oneself into air): leap, jump, bounce * (instance of causing oneself to fall from an elevated place): strike, attack (checktrans-top) * Spanish: (t-check) (trans-mid) (trans-bottom)




    (en noun)
  • A fall.
  • I took a tumble down the stairs and broke my tooth.
  • An act of sexual intercourse.
  • * John Betjeman, Group Life: Letchworth
  • Wouldn't it be jolly now, / To take our Aertex panters off / And have a jolly tumble in / The jolly, jolly sun?
  • * 1979 , Martine, Sexual Astrology (page 219)
  • When you've just had a tumble between the sheets and are feeling rumpled and lazy, she may want to get up so she can make the bed.

    Derived terms

    * rough and tumble * take a tumble * tumble dryer * tumbler * give a tumble


  • (lb) To fall end over end.
  • *(Robert South) (1634–1716)
  • *:He who tumbles from a tower surely has a greater blow than he who slides from a molehill.
  • *
  • *:“Heavens!” exclaimed Nina, “the blue-stocking and the fogy!—and yours are'' pale blue, Eileen!—you’re about as self-conscious as Drina—slumping there with your hair tumbling ''à la Mérode! Oh, it's very picturesque, of course, but a straight spine and good grooming is better.”
  • To perform gymnastics such as somersaults, rolls, and handsprings.
  • :(Rowe)
  • To roll over and over.
  • *1908 , (Kenneth Grahame), (The Wind in the Willows)
  • *:The two animals tumbled over each other in their eagerness to get inside, and heard the door shut behind them with great joy and relief.
  • (lb) To have sexual intercourse.
  • (lb) To smooth and polish a rough surface on relatively small parts.
  • To muss, to make disorderly; to tousle or rumple.
  • :
  • Derived terms

    * tumble to