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I found the example sentences of "rummage" and they are predominantly like

  • rummaged around and found a teapot and a mug
  • rummaged in her purse and found hers.
  • rummaged through my drawer for his key.

So I had supposed it to be a intrasitive verb.

But I found the sentence "First of all, we are to rummage the mails." a bit later.

I want the explanation clarifying this. Thank you.

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  • The word is intransitive, and you could have started by looking in the online dictionaries. We usually speak of rummaging in or through something, but I note that Merriam-Webster offers a definition as a transitive verb. Maybe it's a specifically American usage. Jul 23 at 8:10
  • @KateBunting - I had a girlfriend in the 1970s who got a job with Her Majesty's Customs in Bristol, and they used to be formed into 'rummage parties' who visited cargo ships in dock at Avonmouth to search for hidden contraband, drugs mainly. They 'rummaged the ship'. Lots of Web examples of this admittedly specialised usage. Sometimes pirates were said to have done it to ships they stopped, but this time the objective was anything valuable that they could steal. Jul 23 at 8:55

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