1 of 2


plural bumps
: a relatively abrupt convexity or protuberance on a surface: such as
: a swelling of tissue
Her face flawless. Not a bump, a splotch or a freckle.Katy Kelly
: a sudden rise or uneven area in a road surface likely to jolt a passing vehicle
a bump in the road
phrenology : a cranial protuberance
: a sudden forceful blow, impact, or jolt
felt a bump when the boat hit the dock
: 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
: 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
: 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
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
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


2 of 2


bumped; bumping; bumps

transitive verb

: to strike or knock (something, such as a body part) with sudden force or violence
I fell and bumped my head.
He bumped his elbow on/against the table.
: to hit and move or dislodge (someone or something)
Be careful not to bump that vase.
She accidentally bumped [= knocked] my drink out of my hand.
One day, when I was lining up to go into … class, another boy accidentally bumped me with his shoulder …Simon Troeth
: to move (someone or something) to a different level, position, rank, etc.
rates being bumped up
The team got bumped out of first place.
Bumping a meeting to the next week only makes the next week more busy.Adaira Landry and Resa E. Lewiss
: to remove (someone or something) usually by virtue of seniority or priority
The flight was overbooked, so I was bumped.
… opt for the morning to kick-start the day and stop your evening workout getting bumped off the list.Janan Jay
: to cause (a post or thread on social media) to move to a more prominent and noticeable position
Just wanna bump this tweet again on your feeds …LaurenZside, on Twitter
Scammers … post about a hurt animal. … They ask the public to "bump the post" and when it is shared widely, they add a malicious link.Erin Miller
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
US slang : to play or listen to (recorded music and especially rap)
… a portable DVD/CD player that bumps the new Snoop Dogg through surround-sound speakers …Daniel G. Habib

intransitive verb

: to strike or knock against something or someone with a sudden forceful thud or jolt
often used with into or against
The boat bumped against the pier.
They bumped into us from behind.
: to proceed in an up and down motion across a rough surface
The truck bumped along the dirt road.
: to encounter something that is an obstacle or hindrance
usually used with into or against
The Americans have pushed off that conversation, which risks bumping into that country's sensitive immigration politics.Alexander Panetta
They're bumping against the limits of technology. = They're bumping up against the limits of technology.
bump into
: to encounter especially by chance

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
Huang, who held a 26.5% stake in PDD as of the end of 2022, simultaneously enjoyed a significant bump in his fortune Tuesday. Derek Saul, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 The new setup also uses two-valve dampers, one for bump and the other for rebound, mechanically independent of each other. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 24 Nov. 2023 Ciara and Russell Wilson's Relationship Timeline Since then, the music star has been sharing frequent updates about her pregnancy — including plenty of stylish bump shots. Erin Clack, Peoplemag, 18 Nov. 2023 Light turbulence is the most common, and in a commercial aircraft, it's only felt as slight bumps or wobbles. Stefanie Waldek, Travel + Leisure, 17 Nov. 2023 Is high inflation driving the wealth management bonus bump? Sheryl Estrada, Fortune, 16 Nov. 2023 People with dark skin might also notice rough, small bumps on the face.5 What Causes Eczema on the Face? Anthea Levi, Health, 14 Nov. 2023 Members will see another three-and-a-half percent pay bump in July 2025. Wes Davis, The Verge, 11 Nov. 2023 Like its predecessor, the C-8 is designed for high-speed cruising sans emissions, bumps or noise. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 16 Nov. 2023
Some random person on the street can’t just bump into you for a few seconds, and then walk away with your phone number. Reece Rogers, WIRED, 27 Nov. 2023 All of the pieces are made from soft fabric, so there’s no need to worry about your little one bumping their head. Tanya Edwards, Parents, 25 Nov. 2023 Libra: Harmony-loving Libras could easily bump heads with the direct and sometimes stern nature of the Capricorn, warns Kelly. Nicole Briese, Peoplemag, 24 Nov. 2023 The origin story of the album begins with André bumping into experimental jazz great Carlos Niño at the hip L.A. grocery store Erewhon, followed by the rapper showing up at Niño’s place with is flute and jamming in the basement. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 14 Nov. 2023 The five-time Pro Bowler was asked about a potential rift forming between the Chargers’ offensive and defensive players as this uneven season continues to bump along. Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, 13 Nov. 2023 The Academy bumped both of these up to the general field, where everyone — musicians, songwriters, even liner-notes writers — can vote on them. Vulture, 7 Nov. 2023 Her Loss then bumped Midnights out of the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 album charts upon its release. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 17 Nov. 2023 Meanwhile, top Labor Department officials have been involved in recent union negotiations, including at Kaiser Permanente, where 85,000 health-care workers last week ratified a four-year contract that bumps the minimum wage to at least $23 and gives existing workers a 21 percent raise. Abha Bhattarai, Washington Post, 13 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History



probably imitative of the sound of a blow

First Known Use


1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1558, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of bump was in 1533

Dictionary Entries Near bump

Cite this Entry

“Bump.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bump. Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a forceful blow, shock, or jolt
: a rounded lump
especially : a swelling of tissue (as from a blow)


2 of 2 verb
: to strike or knock against something with force or violence
: to move along unevenly : jolt

More from Merriam-Webster on bump

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