Etymology
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rummage (v.)

1540s, "arrange or stow (cargo) in a ship," from the noun rummage "act of arranging cargo in a ship" (1520s), a shortening of French arrumage "arrangement of cargo," from arrumer "to stow goods in the hold of a ship," from a- "to" + -rumer, which is probably from Germanic (compare Old Norse rum "compartment in a ship," Old High German rum "space," Old English rum; see room (n.)). Or else the whole word is from English room (n.) + -age.

The meaning "hunt through or search closely" (the hold of a ship)" is by 1610s; that of "disarrange, disorder, rout out by searching" (reversing the original sense) is from 1590s. Related: Rummaged; rummaging. The noun in the sense of "an act of rummaging, an overhauling search" is by 1753. A rummage sale (1803) originally was a sale at docks of unclaimed goods.

updated on October 20, 2021

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Definitions of rummage from WordNet
1
rummage (n.)
a jumble of things to be given away;
rummage (n.)
a thorough search for something (often causing disorder or confusion);
he gave the attic a good rummage but couldn't find his skis
Synonyms: ransacking
2
rummage (v.)
search haphazardly;
We rummaged through the drawers
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.