\ 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
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

Keep scrolling for more

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 SlideNext Slide Today, Dell announced updates to several laptops in its office (Latitude) and professional workstation (Precision) product lines, with design changes, spec bumps, and other improvements on tap. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Dell launched sweeping update of its Latitude, Precision business laptop lines," 19 May 2020 More rear improvements over the Model 3 include a whopping 5.3-inch bump in legroom (also best in class) and a more robust carpet for sliding in luggage. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Tesla Model Y charges luxury SUV market with roomy SUV version of its Model 3 (review)," 16 May 2020 Even Mike Pence has replaced the handshake; he was recently recorded extending an elbow, for a friendly bump, instead of a hand. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "After the Handshake," 11 May 2020 But spirits purchases have seen the biggest bump, with a 33% increase. Sarah Todd, Quartz, "Americans are drinking more canned cocktails during quarantine," 6 May 2020 The handshake is survived by the elbow bump, the foot shake, the peace sign, and the wave. Micah Hauser, The New Yorker, "In Memoriam: The Handshake," 27 Apr. 2020 That means no high-fives or chest bumps, not even when your team scores in the final seconds. Los Angeles Times, "Drive-in games? Sparse crowds? They could be part of sports’ new normal," 24 Apr. 2020 In our brief on- and off-road jaunt, the '91 Land Cruiser felt commendably close to the RR in all areas except perhaps ultimate smothering of little, rapid, ripply bumps. Kevin Smith, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1991 Toyota Land Cruiser," 24 Apr. 2020 Just a clumsy elbow bump and a few worlds of small talk. oregonlive, "Canzano: We don’t have sports, but we have each other," 12 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But that visit to the bumpy concrete track that used to be a WWII bomber base in Florida bumped into the hard reality of SARS-CoV-2. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "BMW Motorsport is winning a lot in esports, and here’s why," 20 Apr. 2020 Men in full-body camouflage apologised when the barrels of their AR-15 rifles bumped into people. The Economist, "Virginia’s gun rally won’t halt gun-control laws," 23 Jan. 2020 As a coach and leader, he’s used to meaningful interactions -- pat on the butt, arm around a shoulder, chest-bumping, high-fives, fist-pounds. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers trying to be creative, thinking about virtual reality as player development tool," 7 May 2020 There was no handshaking, fist-bumping or kissing of the future bride. Steve Rubenstein, SFChronicle.com, "Bright side: Wedding plans foiled, Bay Area couple hosts drive-by reception," 5 May 2020 Beyond the incredible logistical nightmare of carving out a safe space even for the most bare-bones operation one can imagine, the NBA keeps bumping up against the same wall as the NHL does in its similar four-city idea to quarantine players. Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas News, "Major US team sports will be searching for the path back to playing for a while," 1 May 2020 Surveillance video from the night of the shooting showed Smith's Mercedes SUV possibly bumping Hayes’ Hummer, then driving off. NBC News, "Man convicted in death of Saints star Will Smith wants new trial due to Supreme Court ruling," 23 Apr. 2020 The Nicolet High School product, who had started his career at Bradley but came homeafter bumping heads with then-Bradley coach Jim Molinari, was in the midst of a star turn that would take the Panthers to new heights. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 in 50: UW-Milwaukee rampages to the Sweet 16," 22 Apr. 2020 And the virus itself can attack many organs, including the heart and kidneys, damage that can bump arrhythmia risk higher as a patient deteriorates. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, "Antimalarials widely used against COVID-19 heighten risk of cardiac arrest. How can doctors minimize the danger?," 21 Apr. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bump

Statistics for bump

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bump.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bump. Accessed 31 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bump


How to pronounce bump (audio)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on bump

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bump

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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