\ˈjəmp \
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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What does jump the shark mean?

— jump the shark
: to undergo a significant change for the worse that decisively marks the point at which a period of success, excellence, or popularity ends (as for a TV series) and an unrecoverable period of decline begins

The phrase jump the shark derives from a 1977 episode of the American TV series “Happy Days” (1974–1984) in which the program's most popular character, Fonzie, jumped 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.

<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>

<Not everyone agrees when Picasso's art jumped the shark. — Jeffry Cudlin, Washington Post, 27 Feb. 2011>

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

Swimmers started by jumping in the harbor from the docks behind the Boston Harbor Hotel and finished back at the docks, with an awards ceremony attended by event organizers and hospital representatives, the release said. Katie Camero, BostonGlobe.com, "Swimmers make waves in fight against cancer in Boston Harbor event," 13 July 2018 His cross-eyes and panting-dog demeanor belie a natural genius, which is the player's talent at jumping on enemies and spinning into them like a dervish to vanquish them. Harold Goldberg, chicagotribune.com, "Classic games, lovingly reimagined in 'Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy'," 13 July 2018 Grande, 25, joined him and the boys for the impromptu photoshoot soon — jumping on Davidson’s shoulders in a series of snaps both also shared online. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Bye, SNL! Pete Davidson Has a 'New Job' — as a Backup Dancer for Ariana Grande," 12 July 2018 Live tweeting other people's romantic interactions has become such a widespread phenomenon that even celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon. Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic, "Stop Live-Tweeting Strangers Flirting," 9 July 2018 The original plan was to open it in the Boise Bench area, but Raleigh jumped on the opportunity to rent its current location downtown last October. Brandon Rasmussen, idahostatesman, "Plant yourself at this new spot now open for coffee, tea in Boise," 5 July 2018 Current projections have highs in Louisville in the mid 80s this weekend before temperatures jump back up into the 90s on Monday. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville's heat index is the highest in the country right now," 5 July 2018 Another video showed a man in the city of Voronezh jumping on a police van during street celebrations following Russia’s defeat of Spain on Sunday. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "How Russia Gave Itself a Facelift for the World Cup," 4 July 2018 Conventional employers are jumping on the bandwagon. The Economist, "User-rating systems are cut-rate substitutes for a skilful boss," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This shift jump-started the rise of a middle class, just around the same time that children started to be seen more as individuals with rights that must be protected rather than just another pair of hands. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "What It Means to Be a 'Good' Father in America Has Changed. Here's How," 15 June 2018 But by jump-off’s end at the Devon Horse Show, McLain Ward had reminded Adrienne Sternlicht that even for one of the rising stars in the world of jumping, there is still plenty to learn. Mitchell Gladstone, Philly.com, "McLain Ward captures 10th Grand Prix crown at Devon Horse Show," 31 May 2018 That would mark a nearly 30 percent jump from last year, during which Amazon controlled 44 percent of the e-commerce market. Adam K. Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, "Amazon’s Share of U.S. E-Commerce Market Approaches 50 Percent," 13 July 2018 But that doesn’t justify the doubling—before Thursday’s share-price jump—in the SoftBank discount since early last year. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "SoftBank Burns Bright for a Tiger," 12 July 2018 Not very far, as the streets of Toronto are a hop, skip and a jump from the United States border, but this remains the only chance — for now — the series has to put its product in front of a foreign audience. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar in Toronto: 'Eh Team' returns home; Conor Daly returns to field," 12 July 2018 The track bumps with a 22 percent jump in audience (to 9.5 million) in its tenth frame. Pamela Bustios, Billboard, "Jennifer Lopez Logs Eighth Latin Airplay No. 1 With 'El Anillo'," 12 July 2018 Knievel’s son Robbie successfully jumped the fountains in 1989, but as a one-off jump. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "Travis Pastrana successfully recreates three of Evel Knievel's famous jumps," 10 July 2018 My fastball velocity has taken a huge jump in the last year (from 88 to 93-94). ... John Maffei, sandiegouniontribune.com, "La Costa Canyon star Jones excited about All-American Classic at Petco," 10 July 2018

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

4 Oct 2018

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 \
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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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