bump·​tious | \ ˈbəm(p)-shəs How to pronounce bumptious (audio) \

Definition of bumptious

: presumptuously, obtusely, and often noisily self-assertive : obtrusive

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Other Words from bumptious

bumptiously adverb
bumptiousness noun

How Should You Use bumptious?

Etymologists believe that bumptious was probably coined, perhaps playfully, from the noun bump plus -tious. (Think of the obtrusive way an overly assertive person might "bump" through a crowd.) When bumptious was first used around 1800, it meant "conceited." Charles Dickens used it that way in David Copperfield: "His hair was very smooth and wavy; but I was informed … that it was a wig … and that he needn't be so 'bounceable'—somebody else said 'bumptious'—about it, because his own red hair was very plainly to be seen behind."

Examples of bumptious in a Sentence

a bumptious young man whose family wealth gave him a sense of entitlement
Recent Examples on the Web But if the tech industry’s bumptious history with antitrust enforcement is any lesson, a caretaker who has reluctantly stepped into the spotlight might be preferable to a charismatic leader born to it. Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times, "Google Antitrust Fight Thrusts Low-Key C.E.O. Into the Line of Fire," 21 Oct. 2020 Donald Trump’s bumptious, boisterous, blustering performance in his first face-to-face debate with Joe Biden changed the trajectory of the presidential race—giving the former vice president a hefty lead. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "The Whiplash of Watching Two Town Halls From Different Planets," 15 Oct. 2020 In 1993, the break-out star was Sean Burroughs, a bumptious earthen mound from Long Beach, California. Adam Kuhlmann, Longreads, "Little League, Revisited," 15 Apr. 2020 George Washington’s mother, Mary Ball Washington, is often seen as a bumptious obstacle to her son’s success. New York Times, "New & Noteworthy," 11 June 2019 There is a tonal ambiguity to the bumptious romantic pursuit that follows, a surprisingly tremulous and fragile air, which may be what dismayed critics who were expecting a more conventional drama. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Revisiting “Moment by Moment,” Lily Tomlin and John Travolta’s Wrongly Despised 1978 Melodrama," 9 Sep. 2019 The brief, bumptious chapters cover roughly a year, and the lead player doesn't come of age so much as rip away childhood's masks. John Domini, Dallas News, "An Italian teenager meets the family she didn't know existed in 'A Girl Returned'," 1 July 2019 The brief, bumptious chapters cover roughly a year, and the lead player doesn’t come of age so much as rip away childhood’s masks. John Domini, Washington Post, "A teenager meets the family she didn’t know existed in ‘A Girl Returned’," 13 June 2019 Tenor Alex Otterburn was a bumptious, aggressive Eddy; Susan Bullock, Allison Cook and Andrew Shore played all the other characters with properly broad strokes. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘The Head & the Load’ and ‘Greek’ Reviews," 10 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bumptious.' 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 bumptious

1801, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bumptious

bump entry 1 + -tious (as in fractious)

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Time Traveler for bumptious Time Traveler

The first known use of bumptious was in 1801

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Cite this Entry

“Bumptious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bumptious. Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of bumptious

disapproving : proud or confident in a loud and rude way that annoys other people

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