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

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 1800s. 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, 24 Nov. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bumbershoot.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1876, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bumbershoot was in 1876


Dictionary Entries Near bumbershoot

Cite this Entry

“Bumbershoot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bumbershoot. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

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