\ 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

Reece’s unexpected hospital visit isn’t the first bump in the road on the couple’s journey to parenthood. Ashley Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "Southern Charm Star Reagan Charleston's Husband Hospitalized the Day Before She Is to Give Birth," 12 June 2019 One of the biggest lessons Johnson learned on her entrepreneurial path is that there will be bumps in the road, and that’s perfectly okay. NBC News, "Jacklyn Johnson: 3 ways to create and cultivate the career of your dreams," 6 June 2019 All presidents have experienced a bump in popularity between election and Inauguration Day. Brendan Lind, The Conversation, "The most unpopular presidential election winner ever could win again in 2020," 10 June 2019 So while MCE Auto would likely give the Intel chip more performance, the Ryzen 3000 probably would also see a bump in some games from the latest Windows 10 scheduler. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "AMD's Ryzen 9 3950X is a 16-core CPU aiming to topple Intel's gaming dominance," 10 June 2019 The new deal includes a bump in base compensation, to a max of $2.7 million, according to azcentral. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Stock report: On USC football momentum, Stanford basketball personnel hits, Pac-12 bowl partners and more," 7 June 2019 The only non-European countries countries that saw a significant bump in their share were Mexico and South Korea. Dan Kopf, Quartzy, "Half of all translated books in the US come from just nine countries," 6 June 2019 LEXINGTON - Kentucky football's 2020 recruiting momentum hit a bump Wednesday with the departure of a four-star commitment from its class. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Four-star defensive lineman Lamar Goods decommits from Kentucky," 7 May 2019 But that doesn't mean the brand hasn't seen a bump in sales. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle, Camilla Parker Bowles, and More Royal Family Members Have a New Favorite Bag Label," 2 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The singer bumped into her old teacher, Roddy Estwick, while at the Cricket World Cup in England. Sydney Scott, Essence, "Awwww! Rihanna Shares Emotional Reunion With High School PE Teacher," 3 July 2019 About an hour later, the suspect, still in the Accord, bumped into a 2011 brown Kia Soul near the intersection of Granada Drive and Roxbury Road near Winter Park, Orange County deputies said. David Harris, orlandosentinel.com, "Deputies searching for carjacking suspect in Orange, Seminole counties," 1 July 2019 The new minimum is $10 an hour in New Jersey, $11.25 in Oregon and $14 in Washington, D.C. A dozen cities in California will also bump their minimum wage to amounts between $13.50 and $16.30. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "New Jersey, Oregon and Washington, D.C., give workers a raise," 28 June 2019 The team had indeed bumped into a giant squid—though this one wasn’t quite so giant. Chase Purdy, Quartz, "Scientists spotted a rare giant squid swimming off the coast of Louisiana," 24 June 2019 Even more interestingly, every single time the growth rate had bumped against that floor, there had been an immediate and forceful reaction in the form of high-volume public outcry regarding a supposedly imminent military threat. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "The Military-Industrial Virus," 10 June 2019 GOP House leaders have bumped up against the Tuesday deadline set by moderate Republicans to come up with a compromise immigration proposal. Sarah D. Wire, latimes.com, "House GOP leaders bump against deadline to agree on an immigration bill or be forced to vote," 12 June 2018 And sometime something will happen that will bump up against those values and you will be called upon to take a stand. USA TODAY, "No room for the Roseanne in your office either," 5 June 2018 Lifting a house up another floor — especially if, like Tannenbaum’s, the home is already two stories — could bump up against neighborhood rules. Alex Harris, miamiherald, "She wants to put her house on stilts. The idea could save Miami’s flood-prone homes | Miami Herald," 18 Apr. 2018

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

6 Jul 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

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