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 bottom (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 Air travel has been rising slowly for more than a year since hitting bottom in mid-April 2020. Joe Taschler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Southwest Airlines adding nonstop service between Milwaukee and Miami; new record set for post-pandemic travel," 10 May 2021 With a utility knife or chisel, remove the excess filler that appears to be dripping off the bottom of the bullnose edge and bulging out from the cove molding under the tread. Washington Post, "My puppy chewed through the wood stair tread. What to do?," 10 May 2021 After going undefeated in the regular season, No. 1 Auburn lost to the bottom-seeded Baylor in the NCEA national quarterfinals. Giana Han, al, "Weekly Auburn roundup: Baseball and softball each fall 2-1 in LSU series," 10 May 2021 These include a new 526-meter-long structure in Qingyuan, Guangdong, which holds the Guinness World Record for longest glass-bottom bridge. Shawn Deng And Karla Cripps, CNN, "Strong winds leave tourist stranded on damaged glass bridge in China," 10 May 2021 The MacBook’s bottom will also see a significant design change. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "This might be our first look at Apple’s totally redesigned M2 MacBook Air," 10 May 2021 The Giants didn’t score until the bottom of that inning, on a sacrifice fly by Crawford. Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, "Johnny Cueto surrenders two homers in return from IL; Giants can't complete sweep of Padres," 9 May 2021 The bottom of volcanic cones with their legends, houses stacked on the side of a ravine facing the sea, the vastness of the views, the simple and calm life of its small community are among the charms offered by the green and safe island. Cecilia Rodriguez, Forbes, "Ready To Travel? These 12 European Islands Are The Safest And Awaiting Visitors," 9 May 2021 Given the rock-hard bottom of the continental shelf, unlike the Gulf's forgiving sands, any mistake setting the boat legs down and the impact on board would feel like being slammed head first into concrete., "Biden wants to move energy offshore, but choppy seas are ahead," 9 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The good news for the automaker and its shareholders is that Ford expects the chip issue to bottom out during the second quarter. Chris Isidore, CNN, "Ford posts strong earnings but warns chip shortage will get worse before it gets better," 28 Apr. 2021 Our cooling trend may bottom out today with near to somewhat cooler-than-average temperatures for this time of year! Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Cooler today, with some drizzle and showers. Turning warmer through the weekend.," 9 Apr. 2021 Mother Nature won’t be joking around this April Fools’ Day, Thursday, April 1, when temperatures are forecast to bottom out in the low 60s. Chris Perkins,, "No foolin’: Temperatures will drop to low 60s this week, starting on April Fools’ Day," 30 Mar. 2021 Winds will remain gusty from the northwest at 20 to 25 mph, and temperatures will bottom out in the upper 20s to around 30 degrees. Washington Post, "PM Update: Temperatures drop overnight. Less windy but cooler on Monday.," 14 Mar. 2021 The rear suspension, with its gargantuan leaf packs, barely seemed to squat, let alone bottom out. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, "Do You Really Need A Heavy-Duty Truck?," 6 Mar. 2021 After peaking on February 19th, stocks began to fall sharply and would eventually bottom on March 23rd, down about -30% on the year including dividends. Kristin Mckenna, Forbes, "Should I Invest When The Market Is High? Dispelling The Buy Low, Sell High Myth," 5 Mar. 2021 Lows downtown may not fall below 50 degrees, and elsewhere, low temperatures will only bottom out in the mid to upper 40s. Greg Porter, Washington Post, "PM Update: Mild, spring-like weather continues on Sunday," 12 Dec. 2020 Colder spots will see lows in the upper teens, while areas inside the Beltway will bottom out in the low 20s. Washington Post, "PM Update: Frigid temperatures tonight, with sunshine and a warm-up on Sunday," 26 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Utah is in the bottom half of states for vaccination rates. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, "‘The Rundown’: Romney warns Republicans on Cheney ouster," 11 May 2021 Ohio and Utah are in the bottom half of the states for vaccination rates. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, "12-15-year-olds could qualify for vaccines this week; strain found in India a 'variant of concern,' WHO says: Live COVID-19 updates," 11 May 2021 The relief staffs of both teams ranked in the bottom half of the majors, but the Angels’ bullpen had a better xFIP than the Dodgers’ bullpen. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: The Dodgers can pitch. But wait: The Angels can pitch too?," 10 May 2021 Ohio is in the bottom half of the states for vaccination rates. Jackie Borchardt, The Enquirer, "Ohio will use just 20% of its COVID-19 doses this week, rest will be stored and given to other states," 10 May 2021 Dressing for the Day: When putting on makeup, a lady must now remember to also do the bottom half of her face. Nicky Guerreiro, The New Yorker, "Emily Post’s Post-Pandemic Etiquette," 10 May 2021 Higashioka then tied the score in the bottom half with his fifth homer this season. Ronald Bum,, "Yankees rally past Nationals 4-3 in 11th, Scherzer strikes out 14," 8 May 2021 After Torres pulled the Yankees within a run in the bottom half, M aldonado hit a two-run homer off Justin Wilson in the ninth, ending a streak of of 75 plate appearances without an RBI. Ronald Blum, Chron, "Altuve's birthday home run draws boos from crowd," 6 May 2021 New Hampshire was an exception, falling in the bottom half of states in that measure, according to the CDC data., "CDC data: New Englanders among the nation’s best in stepping up for shots," 3 May 2021

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

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bottom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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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