\ ˈbau̇n(t)s \
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
3a : dismiss, fire
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


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.


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

The Seahawks and their fans got a dose of reality on Sunday afternoon, when the Los Angeles Chargers bounced out of Centurylink Field with a big win. Seattle Times Sports Staff, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks live chat rewind: Bruce Irvin to the Seahawks? Dissecting the loss to the Chargers," 6 Nov. 2018 Since then, Ryan has bounced all around the globe — with other authors carrying on his journey after Clancy’s death in 2013 — and even become the president of the United States. Karen Han, Vox, "The best parts of Amazon’s Jack Ryan don’t involve Jack Ryan at all," 31 Aug. 2018 The diminutive Argentina star leapt into the air to challenge Peter Shilton in an aerial battle, and surprisingly came out on top as the ball bounced into the net., "7 of the Craziest Moments in World Cup History," 3 July 2018 And not just the lyrics, but all of the components—without being able to bounce it off of multiple band members or multiple lyricists? Bryan Washington, GQ, "Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda Is Taking the Next Step," 15 June 2018 The show flirts with being outright pulpy trash, then bounces gleefully between genres, underlining the many ways those genres prop up systems that prioritize the feelings and accomplishments of toxic men. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "You, now streaming on Netflix, tilts the rom-com into postmodern horror," 27 Dec. 2018 Jamael Westman bounced up to the stage to receive his Emerging Talent Award from Letitia Wright and Royal Shakespeare Company actor Paapa Essiedu (soon be seen on stage together in The Convert). Vogue, "Claire Foy, Idris Elba, Anna Wintour, Sophie Okonedo, Ralph Fiennes, and the Cast of Hamilton Fete the 64th Evening Standard Theatre Awards," 19 Nov. 2018 Even cruise lines, which have avoided Turkey in recent years, are also bouncing back, according to Frank del Rio, the president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "Trouble in Turkey Hasn't Stopped These Travelers From Going," 24 Sep. 2018 The ball must bounce once more on the other side of the net before teams can run up to the kitchen line and begin volleying. Bethany Ao,, "How to play pickleball," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Another guy who missed the cut at Shinnecock, Jason Day, is looking for a bounce-back week. Daniel Rapaport,, "Travelers Championship Preview: History, Field, Odds, Predictions," 20 June 2018 James on the other hand defended Smith and expects a bounce-back performance in Game 2. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "You can buy the J.R. Smith jersey from his 2018 NBA Finals meltdown," 19 June 2018 That bounce-back tendency for Smith will be tested now like perhaps never before. Tim Reynolds,, "After Game 1 gaffe, J.R. Smith seeking a bounce-back effort," 2 June 2018 It's been a nice bounce-back season for Ray, who earned a promotion to Double-A despite batting .238 in 112 games for Class-A Advanced Carolina Mudcats last year. Justin Sayers, The Courier-Journal, "Corey Ray just hit a leadoff home run for the third straight day," 18 May 2018 But with Americans benefiting from solid job and income growth, economists look for a healthy bounce-back in March. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "The week ahead: April employment report out Friday should show rebound in job growth," 30 Apr. 2018 Sometimes hurricanes lead to temporary layoffs and then a bounce in hiring in industries such as construction. Eric Morath, WSJ, "Wages Rise at Fastest Rate in Nearly a Decade as Hiring Jumps," 2 Nov. 2018 The defensive midfielder let the ball bounce in front of him near the penalty spot and kicked his right leg in the air to tap it over the goalkeeper's fingertips. Frank Griffiths, Houston Chronicle, "Brazil advances, faces Mexico next in round of 16 at World Cup," 28 June 2018 The defensive midfielder let the ball bounce in front of him near the penalty spot and kicked his right leg in the air to tap it over the goalkeeper’s fingertips. Frank Griffiths,, "Brazil advances to round of 16 at World Cup, will face Mexico," 27 June 2018

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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Statistics for bounce

Last Updated

17 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bounce

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

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More Definitions for bounce



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 \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on bounce

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bounce

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bounce

Spanish Central: Translation of bounce

Nglish: Translation of bounce for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bounce for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bounce

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to gather or build up little by little

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