\ ˈbau̇n(t)s How to pronounce bounce (audio) \
bounced; bouncing

Definition of bounce

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 obsolete : beat, bump
2 : to cause to rebound or be reflected bounce a ball bounce a light ray off a reflector
b : to expel precipitately from a place
c : to eliminate from a competition by defeating was bounced from the tournament in the first round
4 : to issue (a check) drawn on an account with insufficient funds
5 : to present (something, such as an idea) to another person to elicit comments or to gain approval usually used with off
6 : to return (an e-mail) to the sender with notification of failed delivery Other potential authors proved simply too hard to reach. E-mails got bounced back, and many phone calls never went through.— Clark Boyd

intransitive verb

1 : to rebound or reflect after striking a surface (such as the ground)
2 : to recover from a blow or a defeat quickly usually used with back
3 : to be returned by a bank because of insufficient funds in a checking account His checks bounced.
4a : to leap suddenly : bound
b : to walk with springing steps
5 : to hit a baseball so that it hits the ground before it reaches an infielder
6 of an e-mail : to return to the sender with notification of failed delivery Gonzalez had the wrong addresses for the local executives, and his emails bounced back.— David Wenner
7 : to go quickly and usually repeatedly from one place, situation, job, etc., to another The story bounces from one parallel universe to the next …— Digby Diehl In the past year, he's been the most visible rapper in the world, bouncing around the globe …— Christian Hoard
8 US, informal : leave, depart Some of Hollywood's finest … reportedly had difficulty getting in and decided to bounce.— Kenya N. Byrd


plural bounces

Definition of bounce (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or action of bouncing off the ground or another surface : a rebound off a surface caught the ball on the second bounce … his liner … to right-center took an odd bounce off the wall.— Rob Maaddi
2 : a sudden increase or improvement in rating or value As Gore rode his post-convention bounce, the media started eyeballing Bush for signs of anxiety.— Michelle Cottle
3 : a lively or energetic quality : verve, liveliness full of bounce and enthusiasm still has plenty of bounce in his step
4 : bluster sense 3 In William II the bullying spirit has developed into bounce and swagger…— E. H. C. Oliphant

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Examples of bounce in a Sentence

Verb He was bouncing a tennis ball against the garage door. bouncing the ball back and forth The children love to bounce on the bed. The winner bounced up and down with delight. Her curls bounced as she jumped. He bounced the baby on his knee. She gave me a check for 20 dollars, but the check bounced, and I never got the money. He bounced a 100-dollar check at the grocery store. The store charges a $15 fee for a bounced check. Noun The ball took a high bounce over the shortstop's head. He caught the ball on the first bounce. a basketball that has lost all its bounce The shampoo promises to give limp hair lots of bounce. After the debates, she enjoyed a big bounce in the election polls.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Dampen your Beauty Blender, squeeze out excess water, then bounce the foam sponge across your face for a streak-free finish, regardless of the formula of your foundation and concealer. Nicole Saunders, NBC News, "Best Prime Day 2020 beauty and wellness deals," 14 Oct. 2020 Once the current crisis is over and life returns to normal, airline prices will bounce back, too. Kerri Westenberg, Star Tribune, "Experts weigh in on the best time to book flights for the holidays," 9 Oct. 2020 Can the Bears bounce back against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in prime time? Colleen Kane,, "Chicago Bears vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Everything you need to know about the Week 5 game before tonight’s kickoff at Soldier Field," 8 Oct. 2020 The Cowboys D/ST should bounce back against an offense that has allowed 14 sacks this season and committed multiple turnovers in three of four games. Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fantasy Football Week 5: Start and Sit," 8 Oct. 2020 Both couples' scenes, in fact, bounce back and forth in the episode. Omar Sanchez,, "How Luca Guadagnino captured a modern-day The Breakfast Club moment on We Are Who We Are," 6 Oct. 2020 The Bounce House will bounce a lot less with attendance limited to about 11,000 fans in compliance with Orange County safety requirements. Iliana Limón Romero,, "Danny White to UCF football fans: If you’re going to try to bend COVID-19 rules, stay home," 2 Oct. 2020 Can the Heat bounce back, or will the Lakers take control of the series? Matt Eppers, USA TODAY, "Lakers vs. Heat: Three keys to watch in Game 2 of the NBA Finals," 2 Oct. 2020 Visitors, like pinballs, will bounce between paintings and sculpture—a piece here and a piece there—isolated on segmented walls and in narrow spaces. Joseph Giovannini, The New York Review of Books, "The Demolition of LACMA: Art Sacrificed to Architecture," 2 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun From the playful bounce of its opening notes, this breezy single from E=MC2 announced itself as a serious contender for Song of the Summer back in 2008. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 100 Greatest Mariah Carey Songs: Staff Picks," 5 Oct. 2020 He should have been held up at third base, but Joyce made a perfect, one-bounce throw that catcher Chad Wallach caught and applied the tag. Dave Hyde,, "Hyde5: Great pitching, Cooper’s HR — five thoughts on Marlins advancing past Cubs," 2 Oct. 2020 While President Donald Trump is counting on an economic rebound to convince voters to give him a second term, economists said any such bounce back this year is a longshot. Arkansas Online, "Economy plunges 31.4% in spring but big rebound expected," 30 Sep. 2020 While President Donald Trump is counting on an economic rebound to convince voters to give him a second term, economists said any such bounce back this year is a longshot. The Associated Press,, "U.S. economy plunges 31.4% in spring during pandemic but big rebound expected," 30 Sep. 2020 Having a good supply of lightweight, PVC, low-bounce balls is essential, and Franklin provides a whole bucket filled to ensure that stoppages of play are kept to a minimum. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "All the backyard and driveway hockey gear you need," 22 Sep. 2020 Reed landed his after one hefty bounce on the green, while Zalatoris saw his roll in on the way to an evens finish. George Ramsay, CNN, "Justin Thomas leads US Open with record first-round score at Winged Foot," 18 Sep. 2020 For example, Button said, lawmakers should help the oil and gas industry bounce back because its taxes help fund schools, the state’s economic reserves, and other public services. James Barragán, Dallas News, "In key North Texas House race, Button touts experience, Chambers says district needs a ‘fighter’," 15 Sep. 2020 But Mendenhall, who campaigned on a promise to increase the tree canopy, said the city’s urban foresters have ramped up their planting activity this year, which should help Salt Lake bounce back from the storm. Bethany Rodgers, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utahns say goodbye to beloved trees in the windstorm’s aftermath," 13 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bounce.' 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 bounce


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1523, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bounce


Middle English bounsen

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Time Traveler for bounce

Time Traveler

The first known use of bounce was in the 13th century

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Statistics for bounce

Last Updated

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bounce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for bounce


How to pronounce bounce (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bounce

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cause (a ball, rock, etc.) to hit against a surface and quickly move in a different and usually opposite direction
: to move in one direction, hit a surface (such as a wall or the floor), and then quickly move in a different and usually opposite direction
: to move with a lot of energy and excitement



English Language Learners Definition of bounce (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act or action of bouncing off the ground or another surface
: the ability to move quickly in a different direction after hitting a surface : the ability to bounce
: a quality that makes a person's hair look healthy, full, and attractive : a bouncy quality


\ ˈbau̇ns How to pronounce bounce (audio) \
bounced; bouncing

Kids Definition of bounce

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to spring back or up after hitting a surface The ball bounced into the street.
2 : to cause to spring back bounce a ball
3 : to jump or move up and down bouncing on a bed Her curls bounced as she walked.
4 : to leap suddenly The children bounced out of their seats.



Kids Definition of bounce (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the action of springing back after hitting something
2 : a sudden leap

Other Words from bounce

bouncy adjective

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