\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

Its extra-large wheels mean that mere bumps do not get in its way. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Today's Best Deals: Keep Cool With $100 Off Frigidaire's Smart Window A/C," 20 Apr. 2018 Based on other counties in Ohio that have gone to online fee payment, Hamilton County can expect a 14 percent bump in fine/court fee payments, equal to an additional $1.5 million in delinquent court fees and fines, Pureval said. Scott Wartman, Cincinnati.com, "Great news for speeders in Hamilton County: You can now pay your fines online.," 9 July 2018 In its ongoing effort to prevent a repeat of Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, Facebook was bound to hit some bumps in the road. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "Facebook rejects ads from restaurants, hair salons, because they're too 'political', report says," 25 June 2018 People with atopic dermatitis generally experience symptoms like very dry and itchy skin, red, brown, or gray skin patches, raised, weeping bumps, and thick, cracked, or scaly skin. Korin Miller, SELF, "Here’s Exactly What to Do About Eczema on Your Eyelid," 3 July 2018 And definitely no chest-to-shoulder bump with a caddie. Christopher Hanna, courant.com, "Spieth Successful From Another Travelers Championship Bunker," 22 June 2018 Yet, despite temporary bumps, all those exclusives haven’t led to much success for the platform. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Even Beyoncé and Jay-Z's New Album Probably Can't Revive Tidal," 17 June 2018 The cancer moonshot would get a $100 million bump, to $400 million, and the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative would grow by $29 million to $429 million. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, "House bill gives NIH a 3% boost in 2019, to $38.3 billion," 14 June 2018 Pro tip: focus on your elbows and lower legs to prevent or erase the tiny, pimple-like bumps known as keratosis pilaris. Ashley Weatherford, The Cut, "Everything at Paula’s Choice Is on Sale Right Now," 13 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Nelson-Johnson called 911 early that morning to say that the child had rolled out of bed, fell onto the cement floor and bumped his head the prior evening, the state’s attorney’s office wrote in a news release. Talia Richman, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore couple faces 40 years in prison for 2017 death of baby," 13 July 2018 Authorities said Rodriguez may have bumped into the girl, according to KTLA. Joshua Hafner, USA TODAY, "'Go back to Mexico': 91-year-old man beaten with brick by woman while on daily walk," 10 July 2018 Bellerive, who sometimes bumped heads with foreign donors trying to impose difficult measures on Haiti, said Moïse's administration is not the first to face pressure from the IMF over recovering lost revenue on petroleum imports. Jacqueline Charles, miamiherald, "Haitian officials knew the gas price hike would be unpopular. They did it anyway," 10 July 2018 Just a few days earlier, per terms of his contract, Hurley received a $700,000 raise that bumped his annual salary to $2.1 million. Doug Haller, azcentral, "ASU basketball's Bobby Hurley finds a home in the Arizona desert," 9 July 2018 He was added to the roster of the Finnish national team and played in six games before NHL players bumped him from a chance to play in the World Championships. Jimmy Greenfield, chicagotribune.com, "Blackhawks aim to find out if Henri Jokiharju is ready for the NHL," 13 July 2018 The pending ban on bump stocks, an accessory for semi-automatic weapons that was used in the Las Vegas mass shooting in October 2017, prompted far less pushback from manufacturers and their lobbyists. Fortune, "Why Gunmakers Would Rather Sell AR-15s Than Handguns," 20 June 2018 In 2007, the Inquirer bumped him down to general-assignment reporter. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, "Stephen A. Smith Won’t Stop Talking," 16 June 2018 And although the White House has come around to bipartisan proposals to very slightly improve background checks and ban bump stocks, the compromises amount to fairly small changes to America’s weak gun laws. German Lopez, Vox, "I’ve covered gun violence for years. The solutions aren’t a big mystery.," 24 Mar. 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


Statistics for bump

Last Updated

9 Nov 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).


playful or foolish behavior

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