1580s, "complain in a low voice;" 1590s, "make a low, rumbling sound," from French grommeler "mutter between the teeth" or directly from Middle Dutch grommelen "murmur, mutter, grunt," from grommen "to rumble, growl." Imitative, or perhaps akin to grim (adj.). With unetymological -b- as in mumble. Related: Grumbled; grumbling.
1620s, from grumble (v.).
"irritate, exasperate," 1907 (implied in peeved), back-formation from peevish. Also "to grumble, complain" (1912). As a noun, attested by 1910. Related: Peeved; peeving; peeves.
"complain," 1885 (implied in agent noun grouser), British Army slang, of uncertain origin. OED notes "a curious resemblance" to Normandy French dialectal groucer, from Old French groucier, grocier "to murmur, grumble, complain," which is of imitative origin (compare Greek gru "a grunt," gruzein "to grumble;" also see grutch). Related: Groused; grousing. As a noun from 1918, from the verb.
also mis-speak, late 14c., misspeken, "say amiss," also "speak insultingly (of)," from mis- (1) "badly, wrongly" + speak (v.). From 1590s as "pronounce wrongly;" by 1890 as "speak otherwise than according to one's intentions." Related: Misspeaking; misspoken. Old English missprecan meant "to grumble, murmur;" In Middle English, misispeken "to say sinful things" is from early 13c.
"grumble, chatter aimlessly, nag," 1829, northern England dialect variant of gnatter "to chatter, grumble," earlier (18c.) "to nibble away," probably of echoic origin. Related: Nattered; nattering. As a noun, 1866, from the verb.
In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism. They have formed their own 4-H Club — the ‘hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.' [U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew (in reference to the media), address to the California Republican state convention, Sept. 11, 1970 (the speech was written by then-White House speechwriter William Safire)]
"to wander about aimlessly," 1746, earlier "to mumble, grumble" (1620s), both senses perhaps (with a notion of "to speak with a beggar's whine or grumble") from frequentative of maund "to beg" (1560s), which is possibly from French mendier "to beg," from Latin mendicare "to beg, ask alms" (see mendicant).
"Though the etymology of maunder is uncertain, it is clear that it is not a corruption of meander" [Fowler], but the two words seem to have influenced each other. Meaning "to wander in talking like one drunken or foolish" is by 1831. Fowler writes that maunder is "best confined to speech, & suggests futility rather than digression ... & failure to reach an end rather than loitering on the way to it." Related: Maundered; maundering.
"ill-humor," 1727, in humps and grumps "surly remarks," later the grumps "a fit of ill-humor" (1844), then "a person in ill humor" (1900); perhaps an extended sense of grum "morose, surly," which probably is related to Danish grum "cruel;" or perhaps suggested by grumble, grunt, etc.