bot·tom | \ˈbä-təm \

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 \ 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

There is one drawing in which the bottom of the composition is visually anchored by two birds and one human being, and the top of the composition is dominated by a black cloud. Mike Giuliano, Howard County Times, "Connecting the dots in Goldberg's variations," 13 July 2018 Whether Wolverhampton Wanderers make European football, or are relegated bottom of the division, Jeff Shi will be there for the ride., "How Jeff Shi and Fosun International Transformed Wolverhampton Wanderers Into a Premier League Side," 12 July 2018 In the hunt, scientists have erected detectors in a South Dakota cavern a mile underground, at the bottom of Lake Baikal in Siberia, under a mountain in Japan, and on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea. Robert Lee Hotz, WSJ, "Scientists Track Neutrinos Through Ice to Their Source in the Cosmos," 12 July 2018 Kavanaugh's most recent financial disclosure forms reveal reportable assets between $15,000 and $65,000, which would put him at the bottom of the financial ranking of justices, most of whom list well over $1 million in assets. Amy Brittain,, "Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh piled up credit card debt by purchasing Nationals tickets, White House says," 12 July 2018 Also toward the bottom were New Mexico, Maryland, and Louisiana. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Here Are the Best (and Worst) States to Retire," 12 July 2018 To attract deer, hunters will sometimes cut off the bottom of a peanut butter jar and affix it to the side of a tree trunk. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Doe in distress: Auburn deer can't eat because of peanut butter jar, resident says," 10 July 2018 Increase heat to medium high and deglaze the pan with white wine by adding the wine and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Claire Perez,, "Noodles Panini’s meatballs and sauce a family recipe," 9 July 2018 For the big day, the bride, 26, wore an open-back mermaid style gown by Milla Nova that was slim through the bodice and hips, and flared slightly at the bottom with sheer detailing and lace appliqué on the top. Karen Mizoguchi,, "Josh Abbott Is Married! All the Details from the Country Star and Wife Taylor Parnell's Big Day," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Low temperatures by just before dawn may bottom out in the mid-60s outside of the Beltway, to around 70 degrees downtown. A. Camden Walker, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Un-muggy heat through tomorrow, but then we turn steamy and wetter into next week," 13 July 2018 The Gulf’s red snapper population has been increasing since bottoming out in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Better days ahead for Texas offshore anglers," 23 June 2018 Since stock markets in the United States bottomed out in March 2009, shares of Apple, Amazon, Nvidia, Microsoft and Alphabet have all gained more than 500 percent; Netflix is up 6,500 percent. Stephen Grocer, New York Times, "Tech Stocks Are Hitting Highs as Economic Uncertainty Rises," 5 June 2018 Throughout his first four seasons as the 76ers’ head coach, Brett Brown wore whatever public face, adopted whatever public pose a franchise that had committed to bottoming out needed him to take, and somehow, most of them, if not all, were sincere. Mike Sielski,, "Brett Brown, after earning the Sixers' trust, deserves his imminent contract extension | Mike Sielski," 16 May 2018 That growth comes less than a decade after Elkhart bottomed out at fewer than 37,000 manufacturing jobs in 2009. James Briggs, Indianapolis Star, "7 charts show why anyone can get a job in Elkhart's bonkers economy," 14 May 2018 The purchases in the state were concentrated in the years after housing prices bottomed out. Aaron C. Davis And Shawn Boburg,, "Sean Hannity's properties in low-income areas take an aggressive approach to rent collection," 11 May 2018 The Tar Heels are the pick from among a few options after bottoming out in last year’s 3-9 finish. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "College football's post-spring outlook: Favorite, dark horse, also-ran for each conference," 3 May 2018 Nearly 3 million jobs have been created since the economy bottomed out, a recovery that has outpaced the rest of the country. Phil Willon,, "With recession in the rear view, a more upbeat California looks to choose a new governor," 19 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Earnings for this year will be slightly below the bottom end of analyst forecasts, the company said. Laurence Fletcher, WSJ, "TP ICAP Shares Slide as Costs Spiral, CEO Departs," 10 July 2018 Add shrimp to pan in single layer, and cook about 1 minute until edges turn pink on bottom side. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Table for 1: For solo diners, cooking at home offers many perks," 12 July 2018 People with higher bottom blood pressure readings also had a greater risk for this problem. Washington Post, "Late-life high blood pressure may harm the brain, study says," 11 July 2018 On a scale of 0 to 100, those in the bottom 20 percent scored an average of 32, while those in the top 20 percent scored an average of 82. Karen Kaplan, Anchorage Daily News, "The food that goes bad in your fridge amounts to trillions of gallons of wasted water," 19 Apr. 2018 The rich versus poor gap compared households in the top 20 percent to those in the bottom 20 percent by metropolitan area. Wei Lu,, "These Are the U.S. Cities With the Fastest-Growing Wealth Gaps," 19 Apr. 2018 According to an Economic Policy Institute analysis, Jackson’s wealthiest 1 percent earn, on average, 213 times more money than the average earner in the bottom 99 percent. Jake Bullinger, Outside Online, "When Skiing Collides with Immigration Politics," 2 Apr. 2018 The bottom 85 percent of those who started posting in 2016 got a maximum of 458 views per month. Wilderdavies, Fortune, "Why ‘Success’ on YouTube Still Means a Life of Poverty," 27 Feb. 2018 The top 10 percent of facilities in each state get five stars, the bottom 20 percent get one star and those in between get two, three or four. Kelsey Ryan And Andy Marso, kansascity, "Looking for a nursing home? Here’s how to separate the good from the bad | The Kansas City Star," 26 Feb. 2018

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 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \

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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