\ 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 email) 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 email : 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 But some, knowing the market may not fully bounce back until 2022, are considering selling their properties and cashing out. Jon Gorey,, "Is Boston losing its mojo?," 17 Jan. 2021 To challenge the brain, bounce two balls of different colors or sizes and yell out which one your partner has to catch. Jen Murphy, WSJ, "The Family-Friendly Workout to Fight Cabin Fever," 2 Jan. 2021 What's gone wrong at Ferrari and can Formula One's most successful team bounce back in 2021? Ben Morse, CNN, "Lewis Hamilton knighted in UK's New Year Honours List," 31 Dec. 2020 Many travel nurses like Cutolo can bounce around between states to increase their pay. CBS News, "Overwhelmed hospitals rush to hire travel nurses: "We're getting hit pretty hard"," 29 Dec. 2020 As the economy rebounds, the price of oil will likely bounce up, especially since supply is limited by this year’s decreased spending on production. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, "2020 was the year clean energy started to beat Big Oil," 24 Dec. 2020 The virus can bounce from the worker to a resident, who might then pass it on to another worker, who might then pass it on to other residents and staff – all before managers even suspect the virus is within the facility’s walls. oregonlive, "’The end of an incredibly long road’ as first Oregon senior care home staff and residents get coronavirus vaccine," 22 Dec. 2020 Now, with a playoff berth on the line, the Rams must bounce back against the first-place Seahawks. Gary Klein Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Injury will force Cam Akers out for Rams vs. Seahawks," 21 Dec. 2020 In Delray Beach, at restaurant-turned-party Salt7, young patrons bounce bare-faced atop a banquette, a bucket of Dom Perignon chilling at their feet. Ben Crandell,, "South Florida parties on: No mask, no distancing, no problem inside bars and clubs," 17 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For those looking for more bounce and curl, T3's award-winning styling wand is the answer. Erin Parker, Glamour, "Sephora After-Christmas Sale 2020: The 13 Best Deals to Shop Now," 25 Dec. 2020 Mayor LaToya Cantrell is clearly putting some bounce in her steps at City Hall to the likes of the late Fifth Ward Weebie, along with other local faves including Trombone Shorty and Jon Cleary. Sarah Ravits,, "Local candidates, Mayor Cantrell, Gov. Edwards and Gambit readers share their favorite Election Day songs," 3 Nov. 2020 The improvement is driven by a stronger than expected bounce in the United States and Europe after lockdowns lifted, as well as China's return to growth. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "IMF cuts its global economic forecasts for 2021 and warns of 'long, uneven' recovery," 13 Oct. 2020 The Cowboys' love affair with turnovers continued in the first quarter, when Prescott had a high pass bounce off the tip of Ezekiel Elliott’s hands and into the arms of linebacker Kyler Fackrell. Dallas News, "10 truths from Cowboys' win: Dallas desperately needs more of what Jaylon Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence showed," 12 Oct. 2020 Jones speaks in a deep baritone, her Robeson County lilt adding bounce and verve to the words. Isabel Spiegel, Smithsonian Magazine, "A Native American Community in Baltimore Reclaims Its History," 5 Oct. 2020 The top answers were that a higher stride rate and shorter stride length signaled efficiency; more vertical bounce signaled inefficiency; and midfoot or forefoot strike would be more efficient than rearfoot strike. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, "Don't Judge a Runner's Efficiency by Their Stride," 30 Sep. 2020 Cagney, who got his start as a song-and-dance man, was famous for his roles in both musicals and gangster films, in comedies and dramas alike, and his villainous characters have the same bounce and snap, bluster and charm, as his lovable ones. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "What to Stream: James Cagney Is a Corrupt Demagogue in “A Lion Is in the Streets”," 29 Sep. 2020 Whatever bounce Trump received from a successful Republican National Convention was modest and potentially short-lived. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "Trump playing catch-up as campaign reaches traditional Labor Day kickoff," 7 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

23 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bounce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on bounce

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