\ 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

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Synonyms for bump

Synonyms: Noun

knot, lump, node, nodule, swelling

Synonyms: Verb

bang, bash, collide, crash, hit, impact, impinge, knock, ram, slam, smash, strike, swipe, thud

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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

Milgraining is etching little bumps on the [edge] of the band. Katie Intner, PEOPLE.com, "Ashley Iaconetti Says Husband Jared Haibon 'Looks Sexy' Wearing His Neil Lane Wedding Band," 13 Aug. 2019 Lynn Fleming exited the water on Friday with a three-quarter-inch cut and a bump on her shin, Traci Fleming said, but the severity of the wound dramatically escalated throughout that weekend. Janelle Griffith, NBC News, "Florida woman dies of flesh-eating bacteria, family says," 30 June 2019 Mia told 9 News that her father started to complain about a painful bump on his leg just before her flight home on Sunday. USA TODAY, "Denver man dies in Dominican Republic after being taken off plane due to illness," 27 June 2019 It’s unfolding now inside a dormant volcano east of Flagstaff, a small bump on a vast landscape. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Kanye West gave $10M to Roden Crater: 6 things to know about James Turrell's Flagstaff art project," 12 June 2019 Male Visayan warty pigs have three sets of bumps on their faces, which aren’t warts at all. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "Amazing photos of wild, warty pigs," 1 Mar. 2019 With Canning forced to skip Friday’s start — he isn’t scheduled to appear again until Tuesday — Nick Tropeano was recalled from triple-A Salt Lake to take the bump instead. Jack Harriswriter, Los Angeles Times, "Noe Ramirez apologized for Angels’ 16-inning loss to Orioles and he didn’t even pitch," 26 July 2019 At a former Nestle plant in Itasca, in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, panning machines whir loudly as sugar crystals are sprayed with liquid sugar, over and over, to create the little bumps of candy known as Nerds. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz, chicagotribune.com, "Butterfinger gets sales boost as Chicago-born Ferrara Candy revamps former Nestle brands," 22 July 2019 For starters, the bump extends to his populist competitors, particularly the Five Star Movement. Andrew Van Dam, Washington Post, "How trashy TV made children dumber and enabled a wave of populist leaders," 20 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The policy also barred clients from selling bump stocks and high-capacity magazines. Ellen Florian, Fortune, "Are Credit Card Companies the Key to Stopping Mass Shooters? These Visa Shareholders Think So," 14 Aug. 2019 What will be so super about it: While models remain highly theoretical, projections suggest continental plates will bump together next in the Northern Hemisphere. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "Plate Tectonics: The Slow Dance of Our Planet's Crust," 12 June 2019 Daniel Mengden, who is 5-2 with a 4.85 ERA, was listed as the A’s probable starter for Sunday, but Melvin wouldn’t say if the righty would be bumped from the rotation for the long term. Rusty Simmons, SFChronicle.com, "Newly acquired right-hander Tanner Roark expected to make A’s debut Sunday," 1 Aug. 2019 Newgarden tried to get around third-place Ryan Hunter-Reay in the keyhole part of the course, but ended up bumping Hunter-Reay and spinning off the track. cleveland.com, "Scott Dixon races to sixth IndyCar victory at Mid-Ohio, gets back into title contention," 28 July 2019 If that means, bumping outside and allowing Stefon Diggs or Adam Thielen to work inside, that works, too. Dane Mizutani, Twin Cities, "Vikings receiver Jordan Taylor on injury woes: ‘The game was taken away from me’," 27 July 2019 The car was bumping and bouncing across the road that runs parallel to her home, narrowly avoiding crashing into a telephone pole before jumping the curb and finally landing in a bean field. Wendy Grossman Kantor, EW.com, "Who killed the Masked Marvel?," 27 June 2019 In Morgan County, Sheriff Greg Bartlett fed his prisoners from a truckload of old corn dogs twice a day, bumping his take-home pay by $212,000, and his successor, Anna Franklin, pumped her jail food funds into a shady car lot. al.com, "How many Alabama sheriffs are crooked? DOJ needs to give us an answer," 26 June 2019 Lew backed down and the following year announced plans to bump Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill instead and replace him with an image of the abolitionist Harriet Tubman — though that plan, too, might be postponed until at least 2026. Mary Carole Mccauley, baltimoresun.com, "Here comes 'Hamilton': What you need know about the musical coming to Baltimore that took over the world," 21 June 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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Learn More about bump

Dictionary Entries near bump






bump ball


Statistics for bump

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bump

The first known use of bump was in 1533

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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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bump

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


to make or get by devious means

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