Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb \ˈbau̇n(t)s\

Simple Definition of bounce

  • : to cause (a ball, rock, etc.) to hit against a surface and quickly move in a different and usually opposite direction

  • : to move in one direction, hit a surface (such as a wall or the floor), and then quickly move in a different and usually opposite direction

  • : to move with a lot of energy and excitement

Full Definition of bounce


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 obsolete :  beat, bump

  3. 2 :  to cause to rebound or be reflected <bounce a ball> <bounce a light ray off a reflector>

  4. 3 a :  dismiss, fire b :  to expel precipitately from a place c :  to eliminate from a competition by defeating <was bounced from the tournament in the first round>

  5. 4 :  to issue (a check) drawn on an account with insufficient funds

  6. 5 :  to present (as an idea) to another person to elicit comments or to gain approval —usually used with off

  7. intransitive verb
  8. 1 :  to rebound or reflect after striking a surface (as the ground)

  9. 2 :  to recover from a blow or a defeat quickly —usually used with back

  10. 3 :  to be returned by a bank because of insufficient funds in a checking account <his checks bounce>

  11. 4 a :  to leap suddenly :  bound b :  to walk with springing steps

  12. 5 :  to hit a baseball so that it hits the ground before it reaches an infielder

Examples of bounce

  1. He was bouncing a tennis ball against the garage door.

  2. bouncing the ball back and forth

  3. The children love to bounce on the bed.

  4. The winner bounced up and down with delight.

  5. Her curls bounced as she jumped.

  6. He bounced the baby on his knee.

  7. She gave me a check for 20 dollars, but the check bounced, and I never got the money.

  8. He bounced a 100-dollar check at the grocery store.

  9. The store charges a $15 fee for a bounced check.

Origin of bounce

Middle English bounsen

First Known Use: 13th century




Simple Definition of bounce

  • : the act or action of bouncing off the ground or another surface

  • : the ability to move quickly in a different direction after hitting a surface : the ability to bounce

  • : a quality that makes a person's hair look healthy, full, and attractive : a bouncy quality

Full Definition of bounce

  1. 1 a :  a sudden leap or bound b :  rebound

  2. 2 :  bluster

  3. 3 :  verve, liveliness

Examples of bounce

  1. The ball took a high bounce over the shortstop's head.

  2. He caught the ball on the first bounce.

  3. a basketball that has lost all its bounce

  4. The shampoo promises to give limp hair lots of bounce.

  5. After the debates, she enjoyed a big bounce in the election polls.


First Known Use of bounce


Rhymes with bounce

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up bounce? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 9, 2016

marked by high spirits and laughter

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

spindrift duvet pince-nez kittly-benders
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.