: to abscond after being released from prison on bail
: to leave the company of a ship without authority
: to desert a cause or party especially abruptly
jump the gun
: to start in a race before the starting signal
: to act, move, or begin something before the proper time
jump the queue
British: to advance directly to or as if to the head of a line
jump the shark
: to undergo a significant change for the worse that marks the point at which a period of success ends (as for a TV series)
Did you know?
Where did jump the shark come from?
When something jumps the shark it undergoes a significant change for the worse and is on a new trajectory of unrecoverable decline. The happy days of its golden age are over.
The origin of the phrase jump the shark is tucked neatly in that previous sentence: it comes from a 1977 episode of the American TV series “Happy Days” (1974–1984) in which the program's most popular character, Fonzie, jumps over a shark while waterskiing in his trademark leather jacket. Some years later that episode came to be widely identified as marking the beginning of the iconic show's decline, and its plot device became a metaphor for similar transformations:
Nearly all TV shows ever produced have jumped the shark eventually. Such is the nature of television's creative conundrum. — Monica Collins, Boston Herald, 9 Jan. 2000
Most TV series take three seasons to jump the shark, but in the theater it can happen in 20 minutes … — Bob Verini, Daily Variety, 18 Sept. 2009
But in its headlong embrace of capitalism and corporate tie-ins, “Sex and the City” may have finally jumped the shark. — Laura Compton, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 May 2010
The phrase is no longer limited to contexts involving entertainment; anything that undergoes a significant change for the worse that marks the start of a period of decline can be said to have "jumped the shark":
Not everyone agrees when Picasso's art jumped the shark. — Jeffry Cudlin, Washington Post, 27 Feb. 2011
Silicon Valley has “jumped the shark” and lacks innovation, venture capitalist Peter Thiel says. — Mike Murphy, MarketWatch, 1 Nov. 2018
The circus lion jumped through the hoop.
The fans were jumping up and down with excitement.
Everyone was jumping for joy when we found out that we had won an award.
The cat jumped down off the table.
The runner jumped a hurdle.
The car jumped the curb.
Everyone jumped into the pool.
He jumped into his truck and drove away.
She jumped when she heard a loud knock late at night.
She jumped to an early lead in the race. Noun
The horse took the first jump easily but balked at the second.
took a small jump forward to avoid stepping in the puddle See More
Recent Examples on the Web
The following year, the number had jumped to 384, with a rate four times higher than the national average, according to CDC data.—David Ovalle, BostonGlobe.com, 12 Sep. 2023 The trampoline might be a favorite way to play for the Wales family, as Kate spoke about jumping around on it with George, Charlotte and Louis earlier this year.—Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 12 Sep. 2023 Indeed, Disney's shares initially jumped 3% on news of the settlement, then sank after the formal announcement spelled out the details.—WSJ, 12 Sep. 2023 The 23-year-old has been jumped by seven players in Baltimore’s system this year despite hitting .290 with an .831 OPS with 37 doubles and 18 homers.—Jacob Calvin Meyer, Baltimore Sun, 12 Sep. 2023 Authorities on Friday announced the firing of the prison tower guard on duty when Cavalcante scaled a wall by crab-walking up from the recreation yard, climbed over razor wire, ran across a roof and jumped to the ground.—Marc Levy, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Sep. 2023 Brandon Stanley, the L.A. Chargers’ head coach, arrived at his team’s game with the Miami Dolphins on September 10 in a sharp tailored look—unfortunately jumped the gun with trouser hems cut an inch too short.—Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 11 Sep. 2023 The Auburn football team left Auburn on Thursday evening, traveled just less than 2,500 miles and jumped over two time zones before kicking things off late Saturday night.—Ainslie Lee | Alee@al.com, al, 11 Sep. 2023 The resulting preliminary assessment released in June 2021 identified 144 military UAP encounters since 2004, a figure which Mellon said has since jumped this year to more than 500 military UAP reports.—Eric Lagatta, USA TODAY, 1 Sep. 2023
In Ward 2, including Georgetown and downtown, there have been 285 robberies, an 84 percent jump.—Paul Schwartzman, Washington Post, 11 Sep. 2023 The movie begins in 1673 with the legend's origin and has a time jump to 1973 in Los Angeles, where caseworker Anna, played by Linda Cardellini, becomes entangled in mysterious happenings.—Keith Langston, Peoplemag, 8 Sep. 2023 Enterprise, Parker and Mary G. Montgomery all made big jumps into the top 10 of this week’s AL.com Power 25 high school football rankings.—Ben Thomas | Bthomas@al.com, al, 4 Sep. 2023 Researchers found that athletes who warmed up with glute exercises had a more powerful squat jump post-workout.4
Benefits of Resistance Band Exercises
Resistance bands are an excellent tool for glute exercises.—Mallory Creveling, Health, 3 Sep. 2023 In recent years, however, the NCAA and conferences have loosened rules and have allowed universities to sell alcohol, and several athletic departments have since made the jump to allow anyone in attendance to buy a drink.—Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 2 Sep. 2023 The young boomers who switched jobs nearly every year at the start of their careers saw annual pay jumps of 6.5%, the BLS found.—Byirina Ivanova, Fortune, 2 Sep. 2023 Consumers earning between $50,000 to $100,000 annually saw a 2% year-over-year jump to 65%.—Bychris Morris, Fortune, 31 Aug. 2023 That’s a big jump over 2022, when the average cost of owning a car was $10,728.—Wes Davis, The Verge, 30 Aug. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'jump.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.