Stumble, trip, blunder, lurch, flounder, lumber, galumph, lollop, bumble can mean to move unsteadily, clumsily, or with defective equilibrium (as in walking, in doing, or in proceeding).
Stumble , trip , blunder , lurch, and flounder as applied to physical movement or gait usually suggest a departure from the normal and imply some extraneous influence to be responsible for such departure.
Stumble characteristically implies striking an obstacle or impediment which hinders free movement or direct progress and therefore usually suggests a fall or a check or a cause of embarrassment or perplexity.
Occasionally stumble implies nothing more than accidental discovery or a coming upon without design.
Trip definitely implies a loss of footing or of something comparable to a loss of footing, often on account of the interposition of an unseen obstacle; therefore in extended use trip often connotes a falling into a trap, a lapsing in speech, or making a wrong move.
Blunder stresses awkward confusion in movement or in proceeding that may suggest blindness, aimlessness, clumsiness, ignorance, or a failure to perceive where one is going or what is to be accomplished.
Lurch suggests the heavy, ungainly rolling or swaying movement of a ship in a storm or of a drunken man; when applied more generally to persons, it usually implies loss of muscular control or extreme clumsiness.
Flounder stresses stumbling, struggling, or sprawling rather than rolling and usually implies an effort to proceed when one is out of one’s element (as a fish out of water or a horse in the mire) or when one does not know the road or the way.
In its extended use flounder usually implies the confusion of mind and the uncertainty of one who is completely muddled or at a loss but nevertheless proceeds.
Lumber , galumph , lollop , and bumble by contrast with the foregoing terms tend to suggest clumsiness, irregularity, or heaviness as a natural or usual manner of movement or gait.
Lumber implies a ponderousness or clumsiness in movement (as of one heavily burdened or of great weight).
In extended use it implies comparable ponderousness or clumsiness in proceeding or accomplishing.
Galumph adds to lumber the suggestion of a thumping, bumping, weighty gait.
The notion of thumping or of heavy, lurching irregularity is often prominent in extended use, but sometimes it retains an earlier implication of gaily clumsy prancing.
Lollop is more likely to suggest bounding irregularity than clumsiness or heaviness.
Bumble suggests a blundering, haphazard progress and, especially in its extended use, may carry more than a suggestion of floundering and blundering.