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 downturnlost 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 pluralthe 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 outThe 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

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of bottom in a Sentence

Noun 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 Adjective 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 Prosecutors say that Sigler was in another room at some point after the class started when a student told him Blanding was at the bottom of the pool. Darcie Moran, Detroit Free Press, "Mumford High teacher faces felony in 15-year-old student's drowning death," 12 May 2020 But on Sunday, Phelps dropped off a bouquet of pink tulips and stood at the bottom of the Jewel Lake Assisted Living Home and chatted with her mother, who stood on the front porch. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage families reunite, from a distance, to celebrate Mother’s Day during the pandemic," 11 May 2020 At the bottom of the table last-place Norwich seems destined for relegation. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, "English Premier League cleared to resume season June 1 with caveats," 11 May 2020 Birmingham-area restaurant or bar owners or managers who would like to add their business to the list, can fill out a Google Form at this link OR at the bottom of this list. al, "These Birmingham bars, restaurants and breweries are open for on-premise consumption," 11 May 2020 By 2012, the company’s engineers had designed new, environmentally safe chilling technology: A consumer twists a knob at the bottom of a can and activates a cooling apparatus. Desperation Town, ProPublica, "Why a Struggling Rust Belt City Pinned Its Revival on a Self-Chilling Beverage Can," 11 May 2020 But lessons from standout leaders could help those at the bottom of the class. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "What a country's pandemic response reveals," 7 May 2020 If the human who carries and uses the iPad can’t survive at the bottom of the ocean or in space, an iPad doesn’t really need to be able to operate there. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Tom Cruise Is Making a Movie in Space, Which Seems Like an, Uh, Impossible Mission," 6 May 2020 Shake the duvet and lay it in the center, tucking it in at the bottom of the bed. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, "12 Home Cleaning Hacks From Hotel Housekeeping and Professional Organizers," 5 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bitcoin has historically bottomed 459 days prior to the halving, risen into the event and jumped after, according to research from Pantera Capital. Joanna Ossinger,, "Bitcoin Has Rough Weekend as Price Slumps Back Below $10,000," 10 May 2020 During the last recession, the stock market bottomed in March 2009. New York Times, "U.S. Stocks Have Their Best Month Since 1987," 30 Apr. 2020 Since 1953, with one exception, the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index has bottomed (or hit a low) anywhere from three to 11 months prior to the end of a recession, according to Strategas Research Partners data. Adam Shell, USA TODAY, "Why stocks rebound before the economy," 24 Apr. 2020 In the global financial crisis, stock prices bottomed out in March 2009. Neil Irwin,, "Everything Is awful. So why is the stock market booming?," 10 Apr. 2020 GM Holden's market share peaked in 2001 at 21.4%, but it's seen a steady decline since 2003, bottoming out at just 4.1% in 2019. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "GM to exit some overseas markets to cut costs, focus on EVs and AVs," 17 Feb. 2020 Most forecasts have had the pressure of this storm bottoming out at 918-921mb (millibars). Allison Chinchar, CNN, "More intense windstorms are expected to lash the UK and Europe this weekend," 15 Feb. 2020 The weather service said lows could bottom out at 25 degrees by Saturday morning in some of those areas. Leigh Morgan, al, "Freeze watches upgraded to warnings for part of Alabama," 8 Nov. 2019 These big highs followed by minus low tides continue through Friday, arriving later each night, bottoming out at 7:12 p.m. Tuesday, with a minus 0.9 feet low tide. Tom Stienstra,, "Whale skull washes up in Marin: What’s coming next?," 27 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Giants finished in the bottom third of the league in offensive yards per game (338.5, 23rd place). Danielle Allentuck, New York Times, "Giants and Jets Take Offensive Tackles Early in the N.F.L. Draft," 23 Apr. 2020 Many of those performances came against teams in the bottom third of the league, but there’s nothing wrong with learning quickly how to act like a bully in a conference where bullying is often required. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "IU basketball player review: Trayce Jackson-Davis is the biggest key to 2020-21 season," 1 Apr. 2020 To remove a large branch, cut through the bottom third of it, 12 inches from the trunk; then saw it off 2 inches beyond the first cut. Thad Orr, Sunset Magazine, "Your Essential Winter Gardening To-Do List," 10 Feb. 2020 Sainsbury's came in third, a marked improvement over its tenth place showing in 2018, while Aldi and Asda were the bottom two this year. Jack Guy, CNN, "1.5 billion 'bags for life' add to growing plastic waste in the UK," 28 Nov. 2019 Before Monday, Spicer's team was never in the bottom two. NBC News, "Sean Spicer eliminated from 'Dancing With the Stars'," 12 Nov. 2019 Spicer and country singer Lauren Alaina were revealed to be in the bottom two in the closing moments. Hal Boedeker,, "‘Dancing With the Stars’: Sean Spicer out; Trump praises ‘great try’," 12 Nov. 2019 After landing in the bottom two for the first time alongside Lauren Aliana and Gleb Savchenko, the judges unanimously sent him home. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Dancing With the Stars' Fans EXPLODED Over Sean Spicer’s Elimination Last Night," 12 Nov. 2019 Spicer, along with dance partner Jenna Johnson, was voted in the bottom two alongside country music star Lauren Alaina and her partner, Gleb Savchenko., "Sean Spicer voted off ‘Dancing With the Stars’ - The Boston Globe," 12 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for bottom

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for bottom

Last Updated

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bottom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for bottom


How to pronounce bottom (audio)

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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