bot·​tom | \ ˈbä-təm How to pronounce bottom (audio) \

Definition of bottom

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : the underside of something at the bottom of the box a cut on the bottom of her foot The vase is signed on the bottom.
b : a surface (such as the seat of a chair) designed to support something resting on it used figuratively in phrases like the bottom dropped out to describe a sudden collapse or downturn lost millions when the bottom dropped out of the stock market
c : buttocks, rump a baby with a rash on his bottom
2 : the surface on which a body of water lies sank to the bottom of the ocean

3 nautical

a : the part of a ship's hull lying below the water
b : boat, ship cargo … carried by foreign bottoms— Virginia A. Oakes
4a : the lowest part or place the bottom of the page stood at the bottom of the stairs
b : the remotest or inmost point sail to the bottom of the bay
c : the lowest or last place in rank or position The CEO started at the bottom and worked her way up. graduated at the bottom of the class the bottom of the pay scale
d clothing : the part of a garment worn on the lower part of the body white tops and navy blue bottoms a bikini bottom especially : the pants of pajamas usually used in plural
e baseball : the last half of an inning the bottom of the ninth
f music : the bass or baritone instruments of a band
5 geography : bottomland usually used in plural the Mississippi river bottoms
6 : basis, source trying to get to the bottom of these rumors
7 : capacity (as of a horse) to endure strain a breed of dogs outstanding for bottom
8 textiles : a foundation color applied to fibers before dyeing
9 physics : a fundamental quark that accounts for the existence and lifetime of upsilon particles and has an electric charge of −¹/₃ and a measured energy of approximately 5 GeV also : the flavor (see flavor entry 1 sense 4b) characterizing this particle
at bottom
: really, basically It is, at bottom, a love song.


bottomed; bottoming; bottoms

Definition of bottom (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to furnish (something, such as a chair) with a bottom
2 : to provide a foundation for men who wanted to bottom the dreams of the Romantics— Bonamy Dobrée
3 : to bring to the bottom bottomed the submarine on the ocean floor
4 : to find the basis or source of (something, such as a rumor) : to get to the bottom (see bottom entry 1 sense 6) of The mystery hasn't been bottomed.

intransitive verb

1 : to become based or grounded find on what foundation any proposition bottoms— John Locke
2 : to reach the bottom bottoming on the sea floor
3 : to reach a point where a decline is halted or reversed usually used with out The team bottomed out in last place.



Definition of bottom (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : of, relating to, or situated at the bottom (see bottom entry 1) bottom rock
2 : frequenting the lowest part or place : frequenting the bottom bottom fish

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Other Words from bottom


bottomed \ ˈbä-​təmd How to pronounce bottomed (audio) \ adjective


bottomer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for bottom

Synonyms: Noun

underbelly, underbody, underpart, underside, undersurface

Synonyms: Adjective

bottommost, low, lowermost, nethermost, rock-bottom, undermost

Antonyms: Noun

face, top

Antonyms: Adjective

highest, loftiest, top, topmost, upmost, uppermost

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Examples of bottom in a Sentence


We sailed to the bottom of the bay. the bottom of the garden The poor baby has a rash all over his little bottom. The company's new CEO started at the bottom and worked her way up. Why do I always find myself rooting for the team at the bottom of the league? at the bottom of the pay scale


the bottom rung of the ladder Somebody's fingerprints are all along the bottom edge of the photograph.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Police, Red Cross volunteers and villagers retrieved the 15 bodies from the wreckage at the bottom of the ravine. Fox News, "20 Philippine villagers killed when truck falls off cliff," 17 Sep. 2019 The penthouse elevator, a refurbished contraption with 1970s maroon carpeting and a bright, L.E.D. control panel, made only two stops (top and bottom), slowly. Alejandro Varela, Harper's magazine, "Carlitos in Charge," 16 Sep. 2019 Small huts will house operators at the top and bottom of the lift. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Miles to go before they ski: Backers of new Hatcher Pass alpine area hustle ahead of snowfall," 16 Sep. 2019 There is almost no oxygen at the bottom of the Santa Barbara basin where the core was drilled, nineteen hundred feet deep, so there are no animals to stir up sediment. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "Where Does All the Plastic Go?," 16 Sep. 2019 Offshore, temperatures in some spots at the bottom of the northern Bering Sea this summer measured more than 12 degrees Fahrenheit higher than nine years earlier. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "As Bering Sea ice melts, Alaskans, scientists and Seattle’s fishing fleet witness changes ‘on a massive scale’," 15 Sep. 2019 Look for the tan mottling of the leaves as the first evidence and use an insecticide labeled for control of mites on both top and bottom leaf surfaces. Neil Sperry,, "Mexican petunia: beautiful and determined to spread," 13 Sep. 2019 If your top and bottom fabrics are thin, add a layer of interfacing in between for structure. Linda Zavoral, The Mercury News, "Home decor: How to make your own placemats," 10 Sep. 2019 Carving holes in the tops and/or bottoms of the respective pumpkins allows light to pass up through from the base. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "Jack Stack," 9 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The quarterback energized a team that had bottomed out after the neck injury and subsequent departure of Peyton Manning. Conor Orr,, "Everything Andrew Luck Was, Is and Will Be," 3 Sep. 2019 This is a tough setup for what, just days ago, was starting to look like an auspicious time for investors who believed U.S. yields were bottoming out. Emily Barrett, Los Angeles Times, "Stocks drop as Trump trade war and tantrums undo Fed’s efforts," 23 Aug. 2019 The heavier weights may be necessary off the ledges at depths of 15 feet and more just to get the rig to bottom quickly, but less weight works better in shallower water. Frank Sargeant, al, "Why Carolina rig fishing works in Alabama waters," 29 July 2019 The quits rate, a favorite indicator of Janet Yellen, the former Fed chair, bottomed out shortly after the Great Recession ended and rose steadily until leveling off in the middle of last year. Ben Casselman, New York Times, "A Recession Is Coming (Eventually). Here’s Where You’ll See It First.," 28 July 2019 Isacson expects the numbers of migrant families arriving at the border to bottom out over the next several months. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Once overflowing migrant shelters along southern border closing as releases plummet," 26 July 2019 Exxon, Chevron and other large companies have posted their highest second-quarter profits since 2014, when oil prices began a decline that bottomed out at below $30 a barrel. Bradley Olson, WSJ, "Big Oil Profits Fall Short of Crude-Price Rally," 27 July 2018 Housing construction bottomed out in 2011, with just 633,000 new units built in the U.S. Michael Kolomatsky, New York Times, "Not Enough Homes, and the Wrong Kind," 27 June 2019 Twelve of the Rays’ 38 home dates drew crowds of less than 10,000, bottoming out with a franchise-worst draw of 5,786 on May 28 against Toronto. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Rays' Montreal play has huge ripples - and likely means end of MLB in Tampa," 20 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But in this case, researchers designed their ceramic material to be heated, on its bottom side, by warm air just above the surface of a rooftop, and to be passively cooled, on its top side, by the sky. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "This new device generates light from the darkness of space," 12 Sep. 2019 On a one-year horizon, almost a third of Amundi’s funds were in the bottom two quartiles. Washington Post, "The Perils of Fund Underperformance," 18 Sep. 2019 Kurt Busch, Bowyer and Jones are now the bottom three drivers in the 16-driver field and in danger of being eliminated in two weeks. Jenna Fryer,, "Martin Truex Jr. races into 2nd round with victory in opening NASCAR playoff race," 15 Sep. 2019 Pipe a generous line of brown frosting along bottom edge of second story. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Haunted Cookie House," 13 Sep. 2019 To use it, open the Notes app and tap the plus button in the bottom center of the display. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "10 clever things you never knew your iPad could do," 13 Sep. 2019 After the changes that were made, Yang’s campaign got a score of 3.56 out of 4.0; Klobuchar’s campaign held the bottom score of 2.10. Abigail Abrams, Time, "2020 Presidential Candidates Are Making (Some) Progress On Website Accessibility," 12 Sep. 2019 The headphone jack, flash LEDs, and proximity and ambient light sensors are soldered onto the breakout board; the USB-C port and mic are soldered into the bottom module. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "iFixit tears down the newest Fairphone—how repairable is it?," 11 Sep. 2019 Plates go on the bottom rack, all facing the same direction. Emma Soren, The New Yorker, "How to Properly Load a Dishwasher," 11 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bottom.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bottom


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1544, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bottom


Middle English botme, botom, bothom, going back to Old English botm, *boðm, going back to Germanic *butma- (whence, with varying dental consonants, Old Saxon bođom "ground, bottom," Old High German bodam, Old Norse botn), going back to Indo-European *bhudh-mḗn, *bhudh-mn-ós, whence also Greek pythmḗn "bottom, ground, base," Sanskrit budhná- and (with metathesis of stop and nasal) Latin fundus "bottom, base," Middle Irish bonn "sole of the foot"


derivative of bottom entry 1


from attributive use of bottom entry 1

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Statistics for bottom

Last Updated

4 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for bottom

The first known use of bottom was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for bottom



English Language Learners Definition of bottom

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the lowest part, point, or level of something
: the part of something that is below or under the other parts
: the lowest point or surface inside something : the part of something hollow that is furthest from the top



English Language Learners Definition of bottom (Entry 2 of 2)

: in the lowest position
: living at the lowest level of an ocean or lake


bot·​tom | \ ˈbä-təm How to pronounce bottom (audio) \

Kids Definition of bottom

1 : the lowest part of something the bottom of the stairs the bottom of the bowl
2 : the under surface of something There's gum on the bottom of my shoe.
3 : a supporting surface or part : base chair bottoms
4 : the lowest or worst level or position She graduated at the bottom of her class.
5 : clothing that covers the lower part of the body pajama bottoms
6 : the bed of a body of water the lake bottom
7 : low land along a river Mississippi River bottoms
8 : the most basic part Let's get to the bottom of the problem.
9 : the second half of an inning of baseball

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More from Merriam-Webster on bottom

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bottom

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bottom

Spanish Central: Translation of bottom

Nglish: Translation of bottom for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bottom for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bottom

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a bell tower

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