\ ˈbəmp \
plural bumps

Definition of bump 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a relatively abrupt convexity or protuberance on a surface: such as

a : a swelling of tissue Her face flawless. Not a bump, a splotch or a freckle. —Katy Kelly

b : a sudden rise or uneven area in a road surface likely to jolt a passing vehicle a bump in the road

c phrenology : a cranial protuberance

2a : a sudden forceful blow, impact, or jolt felt a bump when the boat hit the dock

b : demotion

3 : an action of thrusting the hips forward with an abrupt suggestive motion (as in a dance or in a burlesque striptease act) — compare grind entry 2 sense 4

4 : baby bump Confirming her pregnancy at the September 6 MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye West's ex, 28, showed off her bump for the first time on the red carpet. —Allison Corneau

5 : an increase in amount a slight bump in wages/prices … since "Glee" burst on the scene last fall, some local show choirs have seen a bump in auditions … —Kristin Tillotson

6 slang : a small quantity of an illicit drug when inhaled in powdered form at one time At her first few shows Savannah did bumps of coke off her pinkie before hitting the stage. —Peter Wilkinson

7 volleyball : the act or an instance of bumping (see bump entry 2 sense 4) the ball with the forearms Loara High volleyball player Juli Miles demonstrates how to execute a bump during a match … . As the ball approaches, bring in your elbows and lock them so that your forearms are close to touching, which creates a nice, flat platform for the ball to bounce off. —Laura Czingula


bumped; bumping; bumps

Definition of bump (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to strike or knock with force or violence

2 : to collide with

3a(1) : to dislodge with a jolt

(2) : to subject to a scalar change rates being bumped up

b : to oust usually by virtue of seniority or priority was bumped from the flight

4 volleyball : to hit (the ball) with the forearms held close together and facing upward (as when receiving a serve) Hitting a ball with your bare forearms might sound painful, but it won't be if you learn how to bump the ball properly. —Eric Rinehimer

5 US slang : to play or listen to (recorded music, especially rap) … a portable DVD/CD player that bumps the new Snoop Dogg through surround-sound speakers … —Daniel G. Habib

intransitive verb

1 : to knock against something with a forceful jolt

2 : to proceed in or as if in a series of bumps

3 : to encounter something that is an obstacle or hindrance bumped up against a chair

bump into

: to encounter especially by chance

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Examples of bump in a Sentence


He wound up with a few minor bumps and bruises from the fight. Did you feel a bump?


I have a bruise from where I bumped my head. Be careful not to bump the vase. You nearly bumped me off the edge! The jolt bumped him right out of his seat. They bumped into us from behind. The boat bumped against the pier. The TV show will be bumped to a new time. Increasing fuel costs are bumping the company's prices higher. The loss bumped us out of first place.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The beefier tires on the smaller wheels go a long way toward insulating you from bumps and potholes on-road or off. Matthew Scott, Outside Online, "The Electric Jaguar I-Pace Can Go Off-Road," 9 July 2018 Discerning such a minuscule bump on a planet orbiting a distant star might seem laughably impossible, but two astronomers have proposed a way to detect mountains and other surface features on exoplanets. Bob Henderson, Scientific American, "Exoplanet Everests May Be Detectable When Giant Telescopes Come Online," 1 May 2018 And one that, amid personal celebration choices, could have produced a bump in the population data of L.A. by the summer of '89. Tom Hoffarth, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Only in Hollywood': How MLB Network Captures the Drama (and Humor) of the '88 Dodgers," 13 July 2018 The new MacBook Pros, which go on sale today, get a bump in processor speeds, RAM, and internal storage. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "Apple's MacBook Pros Get Faster Chips, New Keyboards (Kinda)," 12 July 2018 How can a player with a career high of 67 catches get a value bump in PPR leagues? Michael Beller, SI.com, "Fantasy Football Players Who are More Valuable in PPR Leagues," 12 July 2018 Lower Merion cites a big bump in enrollment as a reason for the hikes; the student population has swelled more than 20 percent in that period. Meghan Bobrowsky, Philly.com, "Homeowners may hate them, however property taxes aren't going anywhere … but up," 11 July 2018 There’s no doubt Kennard will see a rise in snaps this fall, and a bump in production should come with it. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions 2018 most important: No. 12 Devon Kennard aids pass rush," 6 July 2018 Their sincere goodwill, however, helps make up for bumps in the operation of the dining room. Kate Washington, sacbee, "It’s good to be back: Celestin’s revives its particular brand of gumbo and grace," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

More so than almost any other player on their current roster, Scott has the youth and potential — not to mention a fastball that has bumped up past 100 mph this summer — to carve out his role as a cornerstone bullpen piece in Baltimore. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Tanner Scott can't close the door, and Orioles open series with 5-4 loss to Rangers," 14 July 2018 Illenium lends the dreamy horizons of his latest sounds, while Excision certainly bumps the drums as hard as the mood will allow. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Excision & Illenium Tease 'Gold (Stupid Love)' Collaboration: Hear the Sneak Peek," 13 July 2018 The increase is due, in part, to the state’s efforts to streamline the licensing process and bump up tax incentives. Lara Korte, WSJ, "New York Sees Boom in Craft Breweries, With More on Tap," 12 July 2018 Aiming for 5 stars in Forbes Travel Guide The Phoenician has another makeover goal: bumping up a notch in Forbes Travel Guide, one of two major hotel ranking services. Dawn Gilbertson, azcentral, "Check out the Phoenician resort's fresh look: New spa, golf course, lobby," 11 July 2018 There’s a major tech conference in 2024 that bumps San Antonio from contention. Josh Baugh, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio delegation seeks a return of the NCAA’s Final Four tournament," 11 July 2018 The shark swam alongside the Whaler, then dove beneath us and bumped the back of the boat. Susan Casey, Outside Online, "Susan Casey on Seeing Her First Great White Shark," 11 July 2018 An officer ended the chase near Post Oak by trying a PIT maneuver, during which an officer drives up alongside the fleeing driver and bumps the rear of the vehicle just behind the back wheel. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Police nab four suspects in burglary at north Houston car dealership," 11 July 2018 Rodriguez accidentally bumped into a young girl while walking on the sidewalk, Borjas told The Washington Post. Deanna Paul, courant.com, "A 91-year-old Mexican man beaten with a brick, told to 'go back to your country'," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bump.' 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 bump


1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1581, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for bump


probably imitative of the sound of a blow

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Learn More about bump

Dictionary Entries near bump






bump ball


Phrases Related to bump

bump up

with a bump

Statistics for bump

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bump

The first known use of bump was in 1581

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More Definitions for bump



English Language Learners Definition of bump

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an area of skin that is raised because it was hit, injured, etc.

: a small raised area on a surface

: an act of something hitting against something else



English Language Learners Definition of bump (Entry 2 of 2)

: to hit (something, such as part of your body) against an object in a sudden and forceful way

: to hit and move (someone or something)

: to move into or against (someone or something) in a sudden and forceful way


\ ˈbəmp \

Kids Definition of bump

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a rounded swelling of flesh as from an injury

2 : a small raised area on a surface

3 : a sudden heavy impact or jolt


bumped; bumping

Kids Definition of bump (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to strike or knock against something Open your eyes before you bump into something.

2 : to move along unevenly : jolt The car bumped over the dirt road.

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Comments on bump

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


the setting in which something occurs

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