\ 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

This one-time bump is the biggest increase to the fund since the Great Recession in 2009. Catherine Reagor, azcentral, "Squeezed Out: Arizona spending $15M to build affordable housing and shelters for homeless," 12 Sep. 2019 Burt Flickinger, managing director of retail consulting firm Strategic Resource Group, said scoring a wage increase and a bump in pension contributions is a victory for workers. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Strike likely stopped: Grocery workers like pay raises, pension bump," 9 Sep. 2019 The gift that keeps on giving The NWSL’s Washington Spirit and Portland Thorns both drew crowds of more than 17,500 this past weekend, suggesting the post-World Cup bump is still strong. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, "Soccer! Draw between Galaxy and LAFC left neither team satisfied," 27 Aug. 2019 Sanders' South Carolina communications director Michael Wukela says the senator's bump is demonstrative of the work their team is putting in on the ground with tours across the Low country, phone banking, and canvassing. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Democrats take aim at Trump over Hong Kong," 14 Aug. 2019 The salary bumps are 3% for 2018-19 and 2% for 2019-20 and will be applied retroactively to the start of those respective fiscal years. Lilly Nguyen, Daily Pilot, "Fountain Valley School District approves pay raises in amended contracts for superintendent, 3 administrators," 9 Aug. 2019 That inflation bump can be a significant contributor to roll growth for some counties. Kathleen Pender, SFChronicle.com, "Property tax rolls in Bay Area rise 6.6% to $1.8 trillion," 5 July 2019 Will this road bump with Madeline be a bonding point for them? Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Big Little Lies' Adam Scott on Madeline's huge betrayal, the 'extremely dangerous' Mary Louise," 17 June 2019 Hopefully the bump up in offline downloads is a sign that Spotify might soon also raise the maximum library size, as well. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Spotify raises limit for offline downloads to 10,000 songs per device," 12 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Amy, 32, donned a blue wrap dress, which hugged her bump, for the special occasion. Jodi Guglielmi, PEOPLE.com, "Pregnant Amy Duggar Shares Photo from Her Gorgeous Maternity Shoot," 16 Sep. 2019 The faster the molecules are bumping around, the higher the temperature. Anchorage Daily News, "Thermometers are at work everywhere in cold-conscious Alaska," 7 Sep. 2019 This year’s two five-star commitments bumped the class ahead of last year’s No. Emily Caron, SI.com, "Can Andy Enfield Turn His Highest-Rated USC Class Into Real Change for Trojans?," 5 Sep. 2019 After the first year, the price bumps up to $93 a month. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "AT&T rolls out new online TV service in three Texas cities," 19 Aug. 2019 His effort bumped Kyle Larson to second and Larson is not locked into the 16-driver playoff field with three races remaining to fill the final seven slots. Jenna Fryer, BostonGlobe.com, "Denny Hamlin takes pole for Bristol race," 16 Aug. 2019 On arrival in the southern hemisphere, Gabriela (naturally) immediately bumps into a very strapping Kiwi bachelor named Jake, played by Adam Demos (UnREAL). Ruth Kinane, EW.com, "Christina Milian contends with goats and cute carpenters in Netflix's Falling Inn Love trailer," 14 Aug. 2019 Masculine bumps up against feminine, and discipline mingles with freedom in her work, and the novelty and surprise of it is a turn-on. Vogue, "The Women Designers Who Changed The Way We Dress," 14 Aug. 2019 That bumps up to a 28 percent probability if temps rise 2 degrees Celsius. Fox News, "Arctic could have no ice in September, shocking study says," 14 Aug. 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

12 Oct 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).


ancient or antiquated

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