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 And the outlook is bleak, with all of the franchises at some stage of a rebuild (vote in our poll at the bottom of the story). Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press, "It has been 1,500 days since Detroit sports' last playoff win. The outlook is bleak," 26 May 2020 And then hip-hop within the black culture was at the bottom of the totem pole, culturally [in the ’80s and ’90s]. Radhika Marya, Fortune, "Inside ‘On the Record’ and the sexual assault accusations against Russell Simmons," 26 May 2020 The seven teams at the bottom of the NHL standings — Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres — are effectively done for the season. Vincent Z. Mercogliano, azcentral, "Arizona Coyotes in 24-team playoff in proposed NHL return deal," 26 May 2020 Foxes are normally furtive creatures, but the rusty-red creature that lives at the bottom of my neighbor’s driveway now takes her afternoon constitutional around our property, bold as brass, in the middle of the day. Joe Queenan, WSJ, "With the Coyotes in Charge, the Yard Goes Wild," 23 May 2020 And the morbid tabulations that appear at the bottom of the TV screen don’t come close to conveying the human toll or its scope. Author: Noah Bierman, Eli Stokols, Anchorage Daily News, "Little sense of shared grief as virus deaths near 100,000," 22 May 2020 Having Decay on Tracer this season has separated the Fuel from the teams at the bottom of OWL. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "Why the May Melee could be the mental test needed for the Dallas Fuel," 21 May 2020 Select the fan icon at the bottom of the screen, and the climate control settings pop up. Connor Hoffman, Car and Driver, "Tesla Model 3: The Complete Guide," 20 May 2020 Start in high plank position at the bottom of the stairs with your feet on the first step and hands on floor. Dana Santas, CNN, "Step up your strength and balance with this stair workout," 20 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But Sawada said the downturn in the sector appeared to be bottoming out. San Diego Union-Tribune, "ADB trims Asian outlook, citing trade wars, global slowdown," 24 Sep. 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Place each burger on the bottom half of the hamburger roll and spoon yogurt sauce on top. cleveland, "Moroccan beef burgers with cucumber tomato salad will spice up your holiday grilling (recipe)," 21 May 2020 At Ivy Plus institutions, there have been more students from families in the top 1 percent of earners than students from the entire bottom half of the income distribution. New York Times, "Word + Quiz: paucity," 14 May 2020 Cut the picture out and glue it onto the bottom half of the tab. René A. Guzman,, "COVID-19 pandemic expected to close or delay summer camps, but you can create your own," 11 May 2020 Across the nation, California falls slightly into the bottom half of all states. Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus live updates: Thousands of deaths tied to nursing homes; testing holds back California from reopening," 2 May 2020 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

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

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bottom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 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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