\ ˈbəmp How to pronounce bump (audio) \
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
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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Synonyms for bump

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of bump in a Sentence

Noun He wound up with a few minor bumps and bruises from the fight. Did you feel a bump? Verb 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 With its shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange, this company has had a steady rise in value since 2004, with some bumps and plateaus in the last few years. Benzinga, Detroit Free Press, "Santa Claus rally, Amazon wins, trade news pep up holiday markets," 28 Dec. 2019 After some bumps in the road, including accusations of infidelity on T.I.’s part, Tiny chose to file for divorce in April 2017. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "T.I. And Tiny Reveal Why They Called Off Their Divorce On 'Red Table Talk'," 2 Dec. 2019 The new streaming service hit its first major subscriber milestone since launching Tuesday amid some technological bumps. James Hibberd, EW.com, "Disney+ gets 10 million subscribers out of the gate," 13 Nov. 2019 Curaleaf’s efforts to open for adult-use sales in Massachusetts have not been without some bumps in the road. BostonGlobe.com, "Curaleaf, one of the country’s biggest marijuana companies, received its final approval from Massachusetts cannabis regulators Thursday to open its first recreational marijuana store in the state.," 18 Oct. 2019 American Factory is a documentary about the factory’s reopening, and the cultural clashes that put some bumps in the road. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "American Factory, the first film in the Obamas’ Netflix slate, is one of the year’s best docs," 20 Aug. 2019 In the interview, Applegate mentioned some financial bumps the Hobo Joe’s chain had hit. AZCentral.com, "Don Bolles files: Were the popular Hobo Joe's coffee shops connected to the Mafia?," 30 July 2019 That could be an infusion of positive energy but a transitional period is likely at some point, as are some bumps in the road. Pat Brennan, Cincinnati.com, "Is FC Cincinnati a legit MLS Cup playoff contender?," 15 July 2019 More: Michigan State basketball: Tom Izzo's decade filled with highs, bumps, but not that elusive 2nd title More: Michigan State basketball all-decade team: Who were the Spartans' best of the 2010s? Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State basketball set for Big Ten return, tall task vs. Illinois big men," 2 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb During a race in South Carolina in 2016, Michael hit a kicker (bump in the course that lifts the ATV in the air) and lost control of his quad. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "A broken femur shifted Michael Myers' goals from ATV racer to aspiring Formula One star," 16 Dec. 2019 In addition, there were other Crimson Tide commits who got bumped up in the rankings as well, such as four-star inside linebacker Demouy Kennedy, four-star outside linebacker Will Anderson and four-star defensive lineman Jah-Marien Latham. Matt Zenitz | Mzenitz@al.com, al, "Several Alabama commits make big jumps in recruiting rankings," 12 Dec. 2019 But it was not designed to be serviced, especially not by gloved and space-suited astronauts bumping around in microgravity. Irene Klotz, Scientific American, "Space Station Dark Matter Experiment Gets Vital Repairs," 11 Dec. 2019 Things that go bump in the night so efficiently on a big screen often look hokey and overly theatrical when designed to occur live. Peter Marks, Washington Post, "‘Woman in Black’ wants to scare you the old-fashioned way," 10 Dec. 2019 If things that go bump in the night tickle your fancy, there’s plenty of material to work with. David James, Anchorage Daily News, "New book explores how clairvoyants and spiritual fads followed 19th century British Arctic expeditions," 7 Dec. 2019 Home sale prices in Greater Hartford got a welcome bump up in October amid slower sales, a new report Monday showed, and the sales outlook for the rest of the year also indicates slower home purchasing. Kenneth R. Gosselin, courant.com, "October home sales in Greater Hartford see welcome bump up in prices," 18 Nov. 2019 Join our OSU Wildlife Specialist to learn all about the world of bats and other creatures that go bump in the night. Sam Boyer, cleveland, "There was a crowd walking up Pearl Road: Whit & Whimsey," 4 Oct. 2019 At this time of year, there are plenty of things that go bump in the night in the Bay Area. Angela Hill, The Mercury News, "Halloween hauntings at Winchester Mystery House and beyond," 21 Sep. 2019

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


1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1558, 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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Statistics for bump

Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bump.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bump. Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for bump


How to pronounce bump (audio)

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 How to pronounce bump (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on bump

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bump

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bump

Spanish Central: Translation of bump

Nglish: Translation of bump for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bump for Arabic Speakers

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).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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