\ 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

Others have exfoliating bumps on them which, while great in theory, are just too harsh and unnecessary for me. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "The $5 Gentle Face Wipes I Use to Take Off Pretty Much Everything," 13 May 2019 Bake until golden brown and big bumps on top spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Taylor Murray, Country Living, "Jasmine Madeleines With Lemon-Poppy Seed Glaze," 1 Mar. 2019 The mission encountered plenty of bumps on the road, no surprise, but there was good reason to believe in the effort to go faster over land than anybody had ever gone before. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "Could Someone Save the 1,000-MPH Bloodhound SSC Project?," 11 Dec. 2018 Walmart is seen posting a slight bump in quarterly sales and earnings on Thursday. Lauren Pollock And James Benedict, WSJ, "With Retail Earnings on Tap, Investors Expect a Tale of Two Worlds," 11 Nov. 2018 The significant camera bump on the back houses an f/1.8 lens and a 12-megapixel sensor. Nilay Patel, The Verge, "Apple iPad Pro review 2018: the fastest iPad is still an iPad," 5 Nov. 2018 Woods was absolutely glowing and cradled her growing bump on the runway. Shanelle Drakeford, Allure, "Slick Woods Walked the Savage x Fenty Show Pregnant Last Night — and Totally Stole the Show," 13 Sep. 2018 Another clip shows Cardi seemingly being escorted from the party, and photos depict what looks like a bump on the rapper's forehead. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Cardi B and Nicki Minaj Allegedly Got Into a Fight During New York Fashion Week," 8 Sep. 2018 SoftBank has picked up speed in the latest tech rally, but there are big bumps in the road ahead. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "No Lyft for SoftBank," 2 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The only major action Mr. Trump has taken on gun control since being elected was to ban bump stocks, devices that make semiautomatic rifles fire like machine guns and which were used in the Las Vegas massacre. Zusha Elinson, WSJ, "Trump Heads to NRA Convention as Disagreements Over His Gun Policies Simmer," 25 Apr. 2019 Recent proposals have been even milder, taking small steps like banning bump stocks or slightly improving the existing system for background checks. German Lopez, Vox, "I’ve covered gun violence for years. The solutions aren’t a big mystery.," 14 Feb. 2019 The bill also increased the waiting period for gun buyers and banned bump stocks, which can allow rifles to fire faster and were used in the Las Vegas shooting to kill 58 people in 2017. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "A Year After the Parkland Shooting, Has Anything Really Changed?," 14 Feb. 2019 Both Grimsley and Caldwell voted against the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which the NRA opposed because of its raising the gun purchasing age from 18 to 21 and its ban of bump stocks. Emily L. Mahoney, miamiherald, "This Florida candidate has NRA's A+ rating and its first 2018 endorsement, too," 26 June 2018 Rouda supports banning military-style assault weapons and bump stocks, both of which were used to massacre dozens in recent months. latimes.com, "Rohrabacher’s allegiance to the NRA is just another reason not to vote for him," 25 May 2018 According to Variety, the network is bumping Steve for Kelly Clarkson's new hour-long talk show that is set to launch in September of this year. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Steve Harvey Breaks His Silence After News of His Talk Show Getting Canceled," 14 May 2019 Prior to the new Act, Louis would have bumped Charlotte down the line of succession, taking her place. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Where Will Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Baby Fit in the Line of Succession?," 6 Apr. 2019 It's been available all day at $1,100 and often bumps down to $1,000. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Why you should or shouldn't buy a GeForce RTX laptop," 6 Mar. 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

8 Jun 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).


behavior toward others

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