\ 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 The mommy-to-be kept it simple with just her bump and an ornate pair of angel wings. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "City Girls Rapper Yung Miami Looked So Angelic In Her Last Maternity Shoot," 17 Sep. 2019 However, the short journey so far has not been without its bumps in the road. Matias Grez, CNN, "How football "art" helped Lille return to the big time," 16 Sep. 2019 After a day to assess the bumps and bruises sustained in the 55-16 win against Kent State on Saturday, Gus Malzahn announced that three of its starters are day-to-day. Giana Han, al, "Three Auburn starters day-to-day with injuries," 16 Sep. 2019 The defense may have its early bumps, since Chara, 42, is on borrowed time, John Moore (shoulder) and Kevan Miller (knee) are recovering, and McAvoy and Carlo are contractual question marks. BostonGlobe.com, "(Debee Tlumacki for The Boston Globe)," 15 Sep. 2019 True, by the time of her title bump in 1988, Petersen had signed, developed and/or worked closely with an eclectic array of now-iconic acts for WBR or its subsidiaries, including Devo, k.d. Marc Schneider, Billboard, "Roberta Petersen, Longtime Warner Bros. A&R Exec and Key Backer of Flaming Lips & Dire Straits, Dies at 74," 22 Aug. 2019 That, along with an injury suffered by 2016 first-round pick Corey Ray, paved the way to his bump up to San Antonio. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In midst of 'incredible' minor-league season, Trent Grisham will make Brewers debut Thursday," 31 July 2019 Soon afterwards, a large black sore developed on his back and red bumps showed up on his arms and legs. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al.com, "Tennessee man dies from flesh-eating bacteria after Destin trip," 12 July 2019 Then there’s more traditional acne — think your typical red bumps. Sara Radin, Teen Vogue, "What Is Acne? What Causes Pimples and How to Treat Them," 27 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Meantime, the actual question of whether the city can ban bump stocks is in a trial court, the Dispatch’s Randy Ludlow reports. Laura Hancock, cleveland.com, "Gun bills to get first Ohio legislative hearings after Dayton shooting: Capitol Letter," 17 Sep. 2019 In a move long sought by District 9 Councilman John Courage, the new budget bumps that take up to 4 percent — which comes out to a $10.8 million increase. Joshua Fechter, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio’s new $2.9 billion budget to fund affordable housing, domestic violence prevention," 12 Sep. 2019 Trump has also moved to ban bump stocks, devices that allows semi-automatic rifles to fire continuously like machine guns. Kristen Welker, NBC News, "Trump in talks with key senators on gun control legislation," 14 Aug. 2019 However, the gun's lethality can be increased by adding attachments like high-capacity magazines and bump stocks. Emily Tillett, CBS News, "What is the federal government doing on gun safety legislation?," 5 Aug. 2019 Catfish are probably the best target from now through September, though, with lots of 2-4 pounders being caught by drifting with the current and bottom-bumping with cut shad or skipjack. Frank Sargeant, al, "Friday Fishing Report: How lower temperatures help anglers," 26 July 2019 The unanimous council decision came six weeks after the council voted unanimously to look into the restrictions on large magazines and bump stocks. USA TODAY, "Gator captured, pledge restored, ailing giraffe put down: News from around our 50 states," 16 July 2019 Designed by architect Ken Ungar, the 11,266-square-foot home brings to mind the Revival-style mansions of the 1920s and 1930s with its white brick facade, dormers and bump-out bay windows. Neal J. Leitereg, latimes.com, "Top Sales: Bel-Air estate of daytime soap great pulls in $31 million," 12 July 2019 Faced with a then-unprecedented number of participants and the numbers-bumping public fascination with Trump, the GOP debates quickly jettisoned the traditional format of long statements followed by rebuttals. Mary Mcnamara, chicagotribune.com, "Commentary: The first Democratic debate won’t break ratings records. And that’s OK," 26 June 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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Statistics for bump

Last Updated

26 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for bump

The first known use of bump was in 1533

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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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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).


not being in agreement or harmony

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