\ 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

That alone would give the newer card a performance bump. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1650 is a $150 graphics card built to plug-and-play in any PC," 23 Apr. 2019 The problem is that maternity wear and maternity bodies are a specialty in the fashion world, and understanding the dynamics of a changing figure, and how each bump sits differently, can pose tailoring problems. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Why Meghan Markle Rarely Wears True Maternity Clothes," 24 Mar. 2019 Many of my patients tend to get cystic bumps when using products that have oil. Lyndsay Green, Teen Vogue, "QUIZ: What is My Skin Type: Dry? Acne-Prone? Oily? Find Out Now," 14 Mar. 2019 The West Virginia teachers went on strike over rising health care costs, eventually securing a pay bump and a freeze on insurance premiums. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Is employer-sponsored insurance really a good deal for workers?," 7 Feb. 2019 Getty Images Like most couples, Khloé Kardashian and Tristian Thompson's relationship has encountered some major road bumps. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "​Khloé Kardashian​ Semi-Sheer White Bikini Has Me Planning My Next Vacation," 6 Sep. 2018 There’s a lot less attention on some of the challenges of building out the kind of infrastructure that will be needed for 5G. Aaron in for Adam this morning with my municipal government hat on, thinking there may be some bumps in the road ahead. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Data Sheet—The Wireless Industry's Real 5G Challenge," 6 June 2018 However, being part of a rookie team, some early bumps were to be expected. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Simon Pagenaud, Gabby Chaves get into post-race skirmish," 23 Apr. 2018 According to our poll, boys do experience some bumps in confidence entering their teens. Katty Kay, Time, "How to Help Young Girls Keep Their Confidence During Puberty," 20 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

These are the consumers who have stuck with the marketplace as premiums have bumped up and down. Sarah Kliff, Vox, "Obamacare is having a surprisingly good year," 26 Nov. 2018 Delta also bumped up the price of the second checked bag to $40—both new fees on the airline's website reflect a $5 increase, effective immediately. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Delta Raises Checked Bag Fees," 19 Sep. 2018 In his next 53 plate appearances, Franco raised his season average by 31 points and his OPS bumped up 82 points. Matt Breen, Philly.com, "Phillies' Maikel Franco is finally finding success after lineup demotion," 10 July 2018 Google did something similar earlier this year, bumping up the cost of its YouTube TV streaming service from $35 to $40 per month for new customers. Jennifer Van Grove, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Price hikes for cord-cutters. What gives?," 7 July 2018 Donald Trump’s efforts to unilaterally reshape U.S. immigration policy are bumping up against the federal judicial system – with mixed results. Kathleen Hunter, Bloomberg.com, "Travel Ban Win Could Embolden Trump on Border," 27 June 2018 The good news: Fewer bags were mishandled, fewer passengers were bumped from flights and fewer complaints were filed with the DOT. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "The Best and Worst U.S. Airlines of 2018," 16 Jan. 2019 Even though he was bumped, Schneider was surprised by the reversal. Tom Canavan, The Seattle Times, "Schneider makes 45 saves in leading Devils over Sabres 3-1," 25 Mar. 2019 The season 3 finale will be on April 2, which was bumped from its original date, March 26, because of President Trump's State of the Union Address. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'This Is Us' Fans Are Floored Over the Show's Announcement About the Next Episode," 26 Feb. 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

11 May 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

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