bum·​ber·​shoot | \ ˈbəm-bər-ˌshüt How to pronounce bumbershoot (audio) \
plural bumbershoots

Definition of bumbershoot

US, informal
: umbrella sense 1 Mr. Whifflebottom shifted to his other arm the long black bumbershoot he carried ever with him, against the rain that seldom came, even as he wore always knee-high rubber boots for the same reason.— Harry Stephen Keeler A bumbershoot is exactly the same as an umbrella, but it's a much better word. The bumber bit is a variant of brolly, and the shoot is there because it looks a little bit like a parachute.— Mark Forsyth … the sort of writer who won't say umbrella when he can say bumbershoot.— Malcolm Jones

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Did You Know?

Umbrellas have plenty of nicknames. In Britain, "brolly" is a popular alternative to the more staid "umbrella." Sarah Gamp, a fictional nurse who toted a particularly large umbrella in Charles Dickens’s novel Martin Chuzzlewit, has inspired some English speakers to dub oversize versions "gamps." "Bumbershoot" is a predominantly American nickname, one that has been recorded as a whimsical, slightly irreverent handle for umbrellas since the late 1890s. As with most slang terms, the origins of "bumbershoot" are a bit foggy, but it appears that the "bumber" is a modification of the "umbr-" in "umbrella" and the "shoot" is an alteration of the "-chute" in "parachute" (since an open parachute looks a little like an umbrella).

Examples of bumbershoot in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The show also expands the familiar story to include a castor-oil-dispensing nanny nemesis for our bumbershoot-sailing Miss Poppins. Web Behrens, chicagotribune.com, "40 things to do in the Chicago area with the kids in December," 24 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bumbershoot.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of bumbershoot

1876, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bumbershoot

bumber- (alteration of umbr- in umbrella) + -shoot (alteration of -chute in parachute)

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Time Traveler for bumbershoot

Time Traveler

The first known use of bumbershoot was in 1876

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Cite this Entry

“Bumbershoot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bumbershoot. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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