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

Guerrero’s first of many rocket shots hit at the bottom of the left-field scoreboard, 476 feet into the night. Pat Mcmanamon,, "Uphill climb as A’s Matt Chapman is out early in Home Run Derby," 9 July 2019 Turning off the web server requires running some terminal commands, which can be found at the bottom of the Medium post. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "Serious Zoom security flaw could let websites hijack Mac cameras," 9 July 2019 Break out that designer maxi dress for this seafood-centric restaurant nestled at the bottom of the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore. John-john Williams Iv,, "Where you can find Baltimore’s bougiest brunches," 9 July 2019 Establishing permanent human settlements on other planets or developing an American military presence in space are at the bottom of the list, with around 20% of Americans saying either are very important. Julia Webster, Time, "Most Americans Say Returning to the Moon Shouldn't Be a Space Program Priority," 8 July 2019 This is what a fruit salad is supposed to be, not sad chunks of cantaloupe at the bottom of a cup. Kari Sonde, Washington Post, "Make melons more than fruit-cup filler with one of these 12 recipes," 8 July 2019 The ash catcher at the bottom makes cleaning less of a hassle by allowing you to dump the excess without removing the grill grates. Scott Gilbertson, WIRED, "Fire Fest! The 5 Best Portable Grills You Can Buy," 6 July 2019 The bystanders were able to find Beck at the bottom of the lake in about 12 to 15 feet of water. Forum News Service, Twin Cities, "Teen dies after going underwater while swimming in northeastern Minnesota lake," 5 July 2019 Getting stuck at the bottom would have been downright embarrassing. Zachary Lewis,, "’Glute Drive’ dashes first impressions, builds deep strength: Stretching Out," 3 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Right before the program shuttered in 2011, unemployment bottomed out in Brevard County to 11.8% in 2010. Chabeli Herrera,, "Apollo 11 moon landing anniversary is spurring one giant leap in business on the Space Coast," 10 July 2019 Confidence: High Tomorrow night: Fairly clear and mostly calm conditions should prevail, with our temperatures bottoming out in the mid-50s to mid-60s. Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Windy and otherwise sublime as we start summer," 21 June 2019 After the housing bubble popped in 2006, prices tanked for five years, bottoming in 2011. Ken Fisher, USA TODAY, "3 reasons real estate is a lousy retirement investment: location, location, location," 9 June 2019 Trump’s $3 billion fortune doesn’t qualify him for Bloomberg’s list of the world’s 500 richest people, which bottoms out at about $4 billion. Shahien Nasiripour And Caleb Melby,, "Trump’s net worth rises to $3 billion despite setbacks, including reduction in Mar-a-Lago business," 12 June 2019 Earnings optimism peaked at 19% in 2000, which was a fine time to sell, and bottomed at around 10% in January 2010, a very good time to buy. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "The Danger of Too Much Optimism," 30 Nov. 2018 Even after a couple of stumbles brought on by instability in China and a confluence of factors at the end of 2018, the S&P 500 has still more than quadrupled in value since bottoming out in February 2009. Lydia Depillis, CNN, "The US economy is about to break a record. These 11 charts show why," 7 June 2019 Shares of the four largest self-storage owners have each quadrupled or better since bottoming out in early 2009. Ryan Dezember, WSJ, "Got Junk? Self-Storage Investors Hope So," 21 Dec. 2018 These are low-frequency sound waves just below the range of human hearing, bottoming out around 20 Hz. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Scientists look to music of volcanos to better monitor eruptions," 24 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The bottom half of this year's top 100 features multiple quarterbacks under bright spotlights this fall. The Si Staff,, "Top 100 College Football Players of 2019: Nos. 100–51," 9 July 2019 Sergio Romo would close it out in the bottom half of the inning, finishing off a come-from-behind win and a sweep over the Tigers. Wells Dusenbury,, "Midseason breakdown — What went right for the Marlins in the first half," 8 July 2019 When burgers are cooked, place each burger on the bottom half of a hamburger roll. Linda Gassenheimer, Twin Cities, "Texas Turkey Burgers are perfect for any summer barbecue," 8 July 2019 Instead, there was a pretty big sparkle in the bottom half of the screen that was distracting them. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Sophie Turner Showed Off Her New Wedding Ring, and I Can't Get Over the Sparkle," 6 July 2019 Devers homered off Law in the first, his third of the series and 15th of the season, but Rowdy Tellez answered with a two-run single in the bottom half. Ian Harrison,, "In a pinch, Marco Hernandez delivers win for Red Sox," 5 July 2019 After Jiménez cut it to 8-4 in the bottom half of the sixth, Cabrera homered to center in the seventh. Matt Carlson, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers break out fireworks on July 4 in Chicago to avoid series sweep," 4 July 2019 Claim: Do three people in this country own more wealth than the bottom half of America? NBC News, "Fact checking Night Two of the first Democratic debate," 28 June 2019 Do three people in the U.S. own more wealth than the bottom half of America? CBS News, "Fact check: The first Democratic primary debate, Day 2," 28 June 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

12 Jul 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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