\ 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
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

Synonyms for bump

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Previous rumors said the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max will also get a RAM bump, putting them on par with the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro Max. Chris Smith, BGR, 25 Apr. 2022 Lamb of God is currently making stops across the United States on their Metal Tour of the Year, but have hit a bump in the road. Starr Bowenbank, Billboard, 20 Apr. 2022 While running second Sunday on Lap 56, Herta hit a bump and locked his brakes up into Turn 9. Rob Peeters, The Indianapolis Star, 10 Apr. 2022 The Cavs hit a bump in the road in accomplishing that goal on Wednesday night with a 120-112 loss to the visiting Dallas Mavericks. Ashley Bastock, cleveland, 31 Mar. 2022 After all, the best way to get a pay bump is to change jobs. Sarah Todd, Quartz, 28 Mar. 2022 Also on Monday's episode of his Radio Andy show, Lewis revealed that his weekend began with the sad news that his journey to expand his family hit a bump. People Staff, PEOPLE.com, 14 Mar. 2022 But with Pritzker’s signature, that bump will be pushed off until Jan. 1, with the exact amount to be determined by where inflation stands at the end of September. Dan Petrella, chicagotribune.com, 16 Apr. 2022 That rear horizontal camera bump is unlike anything in the industry. Chris Smith, BGR, 15 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But McRae, who cowrote A Lot of Nothing with Sarah Kelly Kaplan, seems to bump up against the question of where to go next. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Mar. 2022 Susan MacManus grew up in Florida taking family kayaking trips down the Weeki Wachee River, where manatees would playfully bump up against their boats. Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 Feb. 2022 Carey: Luckily for Sweetland, since blueberries aren’t grazing animals, bushes can’t bump up against and break solar panels. Teresa L. Carey, Scientific American, 22 Feb. 2022 Over the past year, their visions continued to bump up against one another, stirring up plenty of controversy and one-upmanship. Jackie Wattles, CNN, 1 Jan. 2022 David Snyder, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, said criminal defendants have their own constitutional rights that can bump up against the rights journalists have. San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Dec. 2021 Non-negotiable provisions for the congresswoman, though, are those that combat climate change, though that is likely to bump up against opposition from Manchin. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 3 Oct. 2021 Adding transactions as well as volume can bump up card-company revenues, too, particularly for merchant-payment providers. Telis Demos, WSJ, 3 May 2022 Thanks to a set of sensors, the smart robot vacuum won't bump into obstacles or accidentally fall down a flight of stairs. Amy Schulman, PEOPLE.com, 22 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About bump

Dictionary Entries Near bump




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for bump

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bump.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bump. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for bump


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on bump

Nglish: Translation of bump for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bump for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!