Tumbler - Encyclopedia

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TUMBLER, that which "tumbles," i.e. falls or rolls over or down. The 0. Eng. tumbiare, of which Mid. Eng. tumblere is a frequentative farm, appears also in Du. tuimelen, Ger. taumeln, to stagger, tumble about; Fr. tomber, to fall, is Teutonic in origin. As applied to a person, "'tumbler" is another word for an acrobat, one who shows his agility by turning somersaults, standing on his head, walking or dancing on his hands, &c. It is interesting to note that Herodias' daughter Salome is described as a tumbestere in Harl. MS., 1701, f. 8, quoted by Halliwell (Diet. of Archaic Words), and in the margin of Wycliffe's Bible (Matt. xiv. 6) tumblide is given as a variant of daunside (danced). Similarly, in early pictures of her dancing before Herod, she is represented sometimes as standing on her head. The common drinking-glass known as a "tumbler," which now is the name given to a plain cylindrical glass without a stem or foot, was originally a glass with a rounded or pointed base, which could only stand on being emptied and inverted (see Drinking Vessels, Plate I., fig. 3).

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