\ ˈjəmp How to pronounce jump (audio) \
jumped; jumping; jumps

Definition of jump

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : to spring into the air : leap especially : to spring free from the ground or other base by the muscular action of feet and legs
b : to move suddenly or involuntarily : start
c : to move energetically : hustle
d : to start out or forward : begin usually used with off jump off to a big lead
e : to move over a position occupied by an opponent's piece in a board game often thereby capturing the piece
f : to undergo a vertical or lateral displacement owing to improper alignment of the film on a projector mechanism
g : to go from one sequence of instructions in a computer program to another
2a : to move haphazardly or irregularly : shift abruptly jumped from job to job
b : to undergo a sudden sharp change in value prices jumped
c : to make a hurried judgment jump to conclusions
d : to show eagerness jumped at the chance
e : to enter eagerly jump on the bandwagon
f : to change or abandon employment especially in violation of contract
g : to rise suddenly in rank or status
h : to make a jump in bridge
3 : to make a sudden physical or verbal attack jumped on him for his criticism
4 : to bustle with activity the restaurant was jumping

transitive verb

1a : to leap over jump a hurdle
b : to leap aboard jump a freight
c : to act, move, or begin before (something, such as a signal) jump the green light
d : to move over (a piece) in a board game
2a : to escape from : avoid
b : to leave hastily or in violation of contract jump town without paying their bills— Hamilton Basso
c : to depart from (a normal course) jump the track
3a : to make a sudden physical or verbal attack on
b : to occupy illegally jump a mining claim
4a(1) : to cause to leap
(2) : to cause (game) to break cover : start, flush
b : to increase suddenly and sharply
c : to elevate in rank or status
d : to raise (a bridge partner's bid) by more than one rank
5 obsolete : risk, hazard
jump bail
: to abscond after being released from prison on bail
jump ship
1 : to leave the company of a ship without authority
2 : to desert a cause or party especially abruptly
jump the gun
1 : to start in a race before the starting signal
2 : 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)



Definition of jump (Entry 2 of 3)

1a(1) : an act of jumping : leap
(2) : any of several sports competitions featuring a leap, spring, or bound
(3) : a leap in figure skating in which the skater leaves the ice with both feet and turns in the air
(4) : a space cleared or covered by a leap
(5) : an obstacle to be jumped over or from
b : a sudden involuntary movement : start
c : a move made in a board game by jumping
d : a transfer from one sequence of instructions in a computer program to a different sequence
2 : an advantage at the start getting the jump on the competition
3a(1) : a sharp sudden increase
(2) : a bid in bridge of more tricks than are necessary to overcall the preceding bid — compare shift
b : an abrupt change or transition
c(1) : a quick short journey
(2) : one in a series of moves from one place to another
d : the portion of a published item (such as a newspaper article or story) that comprises the continuation of an item that begins on a preceding page
4 : jazz music with a fast tempo
5 obsolete : venture



Definition of jump (Entry 3 of 3)


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Synonyms for jump

Synonyms: Verb

bound, hop, leap, spring, vault

Synonyms: Noun

bound, hop, leap, spring, vault

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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

Examples of jump in a Sentence


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.


The horse took the first jump easily but balked at the second. took a small jump forward to avoid stepping in the puddle
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This time, Sethward didn't wait another season, returning in a walrus costume, jumping on a beach ball and falling on his head and eventually off the stage. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "'AGT': A six-pack of memorably weird acts from Season 14 auditions," 8 July 2019 Hiura did not wait around, jumping on a first-pitch fastball, down and in, and lining it to center for a single. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Reds 1, Brewers 0: Once again, no fireworks for the offense against Cincinnati pitchers," 4 July 2019 But the song was cut off, so Gotti took to Instagram to post the full song and even jumped in on the fan theories as to who West might be rapping about. Chloe Melas, CNN, "Kanye West's new song 'Brothers' has fans wondering if it's about Jay Z," 4 July 2019 President Donald Trump immediately jumped on it to paint Democrats as extreme. Washington Post, "Show of hands on immigrant health care belies a thorny issue," 3 July 2019 The special counsel did detail instances of possible obstruction of justice by Trump, a section of the report that some Democrats jumped on to suggest launching the impeachment proceedings against the president. Fox News, "Russian oligarch says he spent $20M after McCabe asked him to help free retired FBI agent from Iran," 3 July 2019 There was a 40% chance of rain Wednesday, before the chance jumps to 60% on both Thursday and Friday, according to the weather service. Katherine Rosenberg-douglas, chicagotribune.com, "Crews still repairing damage from Tuesday night storms as Wednesday and Fourth of July promise more of same for Chicago area," 3 July 2019 The Bowie Baysox jumped on starter Matt Dennis for five runs on four home runs in the first three innings on the way to a 6-2 Eastern League win over the Yard Goats on Tuesday night. Staff Report, courant.com, "Bowie beats Yard Goats at home again," 3 July 2019 Gorham jumped on the trend, and the Furbers acquired 260 new pieces, such as an assortment of gilded butter plates, far more serene than the patriotic epergne. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "With this glittering display of silver, a Providence rags-to-riches tale," 3 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Festivities in and around the Mile High will include a birthday party for Broncos’ mascot Miles, face painters, cheerleader performances, an in-stadium jump from the pregame skydive team and post-practice autographs from players. Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "Broncos Stadium to host open training camp practice: What fans need to know," 10 July 2019 Thanks to a special time jump, Eleven and the gang will be sporting all new looks in the summer of '85. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Who is Alexei From "Stranger Things” Season 3?," 9 July 2019 But when Phoebe took the stage, the judges were all smiles and the audience cheered after each jump, extension, and split. Carmen Dipippo, PEOPLE.com, "Dancer With Down Syndrome Talks About Her Inspiring SYTYCD Audition: 'Reach for the Stars!'," 8 July 2019 Already one of the best at rolling to the rim and catching lobs out of pick-and-rolls in the entire NBA, Harrell has worked on adding a consistent mid-range jump to his skills this summer. Andrew Greif, latimes.com, "Clippers, with biggest moves made, bring back key piece from last season," 8 July 2019 After landing and forgetting to take his foot off the gas, Burbank accidentally went off part of another jump and rolled the truck. CBS News, "Learning how to drive a monster truck," 7 July 2019 The company, which provides well site services for oil and gas producers in 10 states, closed out 2018 with $965 million in revenue, an impressive $100 million jump from the year before. Kara Carlson, Dallas News, "Who's the next to join Dallas-Fort Worth's billion-dollar-a-year club?," 7 July 2019 June’s 6-cent average hourly wage hike suggests more of the same, despite a surprising 10-cent jump back in February. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "The latest jobs report is great news for Wall Street. Not so much for workers.," 5 July 2019 The concern would be too huge a jump year over year. Henry Schulman, SFChronicle.com, "Giants option Tyler Beede, Steven Duggar to Triple-A, recall pitcher Ray Black," 3 July 2019

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


1530, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


circa 1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


1539, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for jump


probably akin to Low German gumpen to jump

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Learn More about jump

Dictionary Entries near jump






jump all over

jump at

Statistics for jump

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for jump

The first known use of jump was in 1530

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More Definitions for jump



English Language Learners Definition of jump

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move your body upward from the ground and often forward, backward, or sideways through the air by pushing with your legs
: to cause your body to drop or fall down from something by pushing with your legs
: to move forward through the air and over (something)



English Language Learners Definition of jump (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of jumping
: a sudden movement because of surprise or shock
: something to be jumped over


\ ˈjəmp How to pronounce jump (audio) \
jumped; jumping

Kids Definition of jump

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to spring into the air : leap
2 : to pass over or cause to pass over with or as if with a leap Our dog tried to jump the fence.
3 : to make a sudden movement The sudden noise made me jump.
4 : to make a sudden attack “Are you trying to make hash out of little Willie with all five of you jumping on him at once?”— Astrid Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking
5 : to have or cause a sudden sharp increase Food prices have jumped.
6 : to make a hasty judgment Don't jump to conclusions.
jump the gun
1 : to start in a race before the starting signal
2 : to do something before the proper time



Kids Definition of jump (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of leaping He made a running jump.
2 : a sudden involuntary movement : start He gave a jump when she came in.
3 : a sharp sudden increase a jump in temperature
4 : an initial advantage We got the jump on the other team.

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More from Merriam-Webster on jump

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jump

Spanish Central: Translation of jump

Nglish: Translation of jump for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jump for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about jump

Comments on jump

What made you want to look up jump? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to complain fretfully

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