\ 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
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

Gold for June delivery rose 0.1% to $1,277.30 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, bouncing off a two-week low. Stephanie Yang, WSJ, "Gold Edges Up as Dollar Falls," 20 May 2019 Despite the filter on the photo, the light bouncing off their cheekbones is undeniable. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Ariana Grande and Jungkook of BTS Took a Glowing Post-Concert Photo, and Their Skin Is Gleaming," 8 May 2019 Hayabusa 2 has been orbiting the asteroid Ryugu for about a year, has deployed three bouncing rovers, and collected a whole lot of orbital photos. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Watch the Hayabusa Spacecraft Blow Up an Asteroid Tonight," 4 Apr. 2019 So watching Musk bounce his ideas off the public in real time is probably the best example of how that works. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, "Elon Musk is the first influencer CEO," 21 Dec. 2018 Kane had a chance to double the lead in the 30th minute when Subasic made a sliding save on his short-range shot and Kane’s follow-up effort from the end line hit the post and bounced off the keeper and up as the flag went up. Ronald Blum,, "Croatia reaches first World Cup final," 11 July 2018 The new skyscrapers can also create wind tunnels, allowing strong breezes to bounce off their facades and gain strength. ... Konrad Putzier, WSJ, "At New York’s Hudson Yards, Everyone Feels Colder," 5 May 2019 At the time, Josh was bouncing in and out of jobs, and Susan left her job in cosmetology to work as a broker at Wells Fargo. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Susan Cox Powell's Sister Reveals What She Believes Really Happened to Her," 4 May 2019 And when a person hits their head hard, the brain can bounce around and twist in the skull. Brian Resnick, Vox, "What a lifetime of playing football can do to the human brain," 4 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On the way up the jagged hillside, the Telluride bounces and tilts at wild angles, oftentimes only keeping two tires in contact with the ground. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The Kia Telluride Has Some Serious Off-Road Chops," 7 May 2019 Pucker up San Jose’s Joe Pavelski had a puck bounce off his chin and into the net for the Sharks’ first goal in their 5-2 playoff-opening win over Vegas. Dwight Perry / Sideline Chatter, The Seattle Times, "Sideline Chatter: Pac-12 hoops fans might bring pitchforks and torches to Clippers games," 12 Apr. 2019 Beginner modification: Start with three to five tuck jumps with a double bounce in between each rep, suggests Jenkins. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "A Total-Body HIIT Workout You Can Do in Under 15 Minutes From Celebrity Trainer Jeanette Jenkins," 14 Mar. 2019 Drawn to the latest and trendiest approach, many people who are trying to lose weight constantly bounce between fads: low-carb, high-fat; low-fat, high-carb; South Beach; Atkins; DASH; Zone; Ornish; intermittent fasting; the list goes on and on. Brad Stulberg, Outside Online, "The Case For Not Changing a Thing," 5 Apr. 2018 Health screenings, bounce house, food, prizes, vendors, businesses, information promoting a healthier lifestyle. 760-789-2330. Sentinel Staff, Ramona Sentinel, "Our Town Calendar: April 26-May 2," 25 Apr. 2018 There’ll also be a bounce house, face painting, and a cookout (with donation). Courtney Devores, charlotteobserver, "Your 5-minute guide to the best things to do in Charlotte | April 27-May 3 | Charlotte Observer," 25 Apr. 2018 Kylie recently posted a video of Stormi, now one year old, lying on her stomach in a bounce house. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Here's Why Kylie Jenner's Fans Think She's Pregnant Again," 21 Mar. 2019 In general, wheelchair tennis players use the same racquets, balls, and court parameters as non-wheelchair players, and the rules are also the same with one exception: Wheelchair athletes are allowed two bounces on their side of the court. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Paralympian Mackenzie Soldan Is Making History in Wheelchair Tennis," 17 Apr. 2019

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

6 Jun 2019

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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 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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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

What made you want to look up bounce? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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