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 In the bottom of the ninth inning of a one-run game on Tuesday against the San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Aristides Aquino pinch-hit with a runner on first base and a chance to give the Reds the lead with one swing of the bat. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, "Reds notes: Outfielder Aristides Aquino out five-to-six weeks with a hand injury," 16 Apr. 2021 The same rate hit historic rock-bottom at 2.65% the week of Jan. 7. March, which typically launches eight months of prime-time real estate transactions, saw a 51.5% spike in homes that received an accepted offer compared to February. oregonlive, "Portland’s median home price jumps $8,900 in a month as rock-bottom inventory remains," 16 Apr. 2021 The collection includes two one-pieces (there’s a square neck and a v-neck), three bikini tops (a tie-front silhouette, a sporty square neck, and a deeper v-neck), and two bottoms (a high-rise hipster and a more classic bikini bottom). Rachel Besser, Vogue, "Everlane Does Bathing Suits! Shop the Brand’s First-Ever Swim Line," 15 Apr. 2021 The bottom fell out of one-day nonresident sport fish licenses; 33,463 in 2020 compared to 121,439 in 2019. Matt Wyatt, San Antonio Express-News, "License sales show hunting, fishing renaissance amid pandemic," 15 Apr. 2021 Here’s the problem that the team at YouGov unveiled with its recent poll that put D.C. at the absolute bottom of the list of American states. Washington Post, "This list said D.C. is the absolute worst in the entire nation. Maybe it’s right.," 15 Apr. 2021 Starting with the bottom right, fold the first quarter up over the second quarter so the first and second fillings touch. Casey Barber, CNN, "Eat like an astronaut (or a TikTok star) with these tortilla hacks," 14 Apr. 2021 Your anticipation will build as the topping approaches the bottom of the cup, and after the tea runs dry, you’ll immediately be greeted by a savory mouthful of foam. David Deloso, San Francisco Chronicle, "The boba crisis is a perfect opportunity to try the superior tea topping: cheese foam," 14 Apr. 2021 Henry never finished a challenge in the bottom two, and never faced elimination from the individual competition. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Did a Utah contestant win $200,000 on CBS’ ‘Tough as Nails’?," 14 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Analyzing data since 1981, mean MSP temperatures bottom out between January 8-22 (15F). Star Tribune, "Rollercoaster Highs This Week After The Sixth Warmest Start To January," 17 Jan. 2021 Low temperatures bottom out in the 30s, region-wide. Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: New Year, new rain. 2021 starts damp and chilly.," 1 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective One reason is rock-bottom trust in the government, the product of two years of political turmoil. The Economist, "China presses Hong Kongers to accept a Chinese vaccine," 17 Apr. 2021 North Carolina is in the bottom 15 states for vaccination rates, according to an analysis by The New York Times., "In the South, broad swaths of the public remain hesitant about coronavirus vaccines," 17 Apr. 2021 Case in point is this Whirlpool bottom freezer fridge that has a generous 22 cu. Dave Johnson, Forbes, "The Best Refrigerators Will Have Your Food (And You) Feeling Extra Cold," 16 Apr. 2021 Cover with a lid and simmer the bottom side of the chicken for 4 minutes, flip the breasts and simmer until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes total. Christian Reynoso, San Francisco Chronicle, "This creamy pasta adds a whole chopped Meyer lemon for a burst of spring," 16 Apr. 2021 This means searching out hard-bottom areas with grass, blowdowns, stumps or boat docks likely will produce for the next several weeks. Frank Sargeant, al, "Friday fishing report for Alabama," 16 Apr. 2021 The wooden canvas had been wrecked during shipment, resulting in a crack that completely detached the bottom portion of the image from the rest. Los Angeles Times, "How a broken painting captured Jackie Robinson’s unbreakable spirit," 16 Apr. 2021 And the analyses based on those numbers, which show Utah among the bottom states in vaccination rate rankings, typically don’t take into consideration the state’s high number of residents who are too young to be vaccinated. Taylor Stevens, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Here are five things Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said he would do in his first 100 days. Did he do them?," 16 Apr. 2021 Slip a rubber washer onto the bottom end of the new fill valve. Fran Aliwalas, Popular Mechanics, "Master These Three Parts to Tackle Any Toilet Problem," 15 Apr. 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

19 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bottom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 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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