\ 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

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Synonyms for bump

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Although there are indications more people are heeding stay-home orders that apply to all of the state but northernmost rural counties, there was a bump in air travel in Los Angeles similar to Thanksgiving. CBS News, "California braces for virus surge upon surge upon surge, in large part from holiday travel," 29 Dec. 2020 The difference is that scrutiny from Beijing could be an unexpected bump in the road. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "In China, Online Grocery Shopping Gets Political," 23 Dec. 2020 The 360-degree spin for Wall Street in less than 24 hours is just the latest bump in its shaky run since early last month. Arkansas Online, "Stocks rise as Trump tweets on stimulus keep market spinning," 7 Oct. 2020 The 360-degree spin for Wall Street in less than 24 hours is just the latest bump in its shaky run since early last month. Stan Choe, Star Tribune, "Trump's tweets on stimulus cause tailspin, then rebound, on Wall Street," 7 Oct. 2020 Little said there was a sizable bump when in-person instruction began for prekindergarteners on Sept. 28. Corbett Smith, Dallas News, "COVID-19 concerns lead to sharp drop in pre-K enrollment across North Texas districts," 5 Oct. 2020 The only exception is a bump of over 7,500 cases on Sept. 1, blamed on a data dump from Quest Diagnostics with test results dating back to April. Paola Pérez, orlandosentinel.com, "Florida coronavirus deaths hit 14,671 out of over 716,000 infections," 4 Oct. 2020 The long-term outlook is very good, but this year could be a bump in the road. Usa Today Sports, USA TODAY, "Predictions for the 2020 college football season," 10 Sep. 2020 Delray Beach Open Tournament Director Mark Baron has faced challenges in the past so moving a major tennis tournament up one month is just another bump in the road. Gary Curreri, sun-sentinel.com, "Delray Beach Open tennis dates move up to Jan. 4," 17 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Even with some late-game opportunities to bump up statistics, Ohio State finished with 341 total yards -- its fewest in any game since 2017. Mike Rodak | Mrodak@al.com, al, "Alabama defense steals championship glory from Justin Fields," 12 Jan. 2021 The number of seats in the Texas Legislature will remain the same, which means that the most at-risk politicians are those in swing districts or those who bump up against Republicans who had tight races. James Barragán, Dallas News, "5 things to watch in Texas politics in 2021," 29 Dec. 2020 And stars can help secure a project’s funding, entice international distributors, or bump up a film’s box-office draw. Ashley Lee Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: ‘The Prom’ is an ode to musical theater. But Hollywood often shuts out stage actors," 12 Dec. 2020 Major League Baseball will soon send documentation to the Hillsboro Hops asking the team to bump up in class to Single-A Advanced in the minor leagues, according to milb.com. oregonlive, "Arizona Diamondbacks invite Hillsboro Hops to step up to Single-A Advanced, full-season baseball: Report," 9 Dec. 2020 In a vacuum, those energetic molecules in your beverage have even fewer atoms to bump up against. Ac Shilton, Outside Online, "Want to Get Outside All Winter? Bring Your Thermos.," 29 Nov. 2020 That page will use the rate at which a Google account has stored data—including Drive, Gmail, and Photos—and project the date at which that account will bump up against capacity limits. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Google Photos is the latest “Unlimited” plan to impose hard limits," 11 Nov. 2020 If the taste is too strong for you, bump it up to a 1:14 or 1:15 ratio. Katlyn Moncada, Better Homes & Gardens, "How to Use a French Press for a Delightful Start to Your Morning," 17 Dec. 2020 On their 21st birthday, the twins bump into each other for the first time. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "The 60 Best Disney Channel Movies of All Time," 10 Dec. 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.

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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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Statistics for bump

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bump.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bump. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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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.

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Comments on bump

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