\ 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 offjump 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

Synonyms: Noun

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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

Verb 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That's not why Black Ohioans have been disproportionally affected by the disease, experts agree, If those comments were unintentional, Huffman should jump at the opportunity to support this new resolution, Thomas said. Jessie Balmert, Cincinnati.com, "This Ohio lawmaker wants to abolish slavery in the state's constitution - no exceptions," 19 June 2020 At first the dog will jump up and take whatever distraction is offered. The Economist, "Home Entertainment The virtues of dog training in lockdown," 19 June 2020 The world’s largest smartphone maker is trying to jump-start lackluster sales of 5G handsets in the U.S., addressing the sticker shock that might have kept customers at bay. Elizabeth Koh, WSJ, "Samsung Unveils Cheaper 5G Phone to Lure Reluctant Buyers," 19 June 2020 May’s unemployment rate was originally projected to jump from 14.7% in April to roughly 20%, and 8 million jobs were projected to be lost. Jay Heflin, Washington Examiner, "Congressional action helped spur surprise economic rebound," 18 June 2020 Sam McNulty, owner of Market Garden Brewery, Nano Brew and Bier Markt in Ohio City told cleveland.com in a recent interview that most merchants would jump at the idea. Robert Higgs, cleveland, "Cleveland restaurants, bars can get permits to expand patios into sidewalks, streets to cope with coronavirus distancing challenges," 18 June 2020 Three steps down, lean forward, fake, pull back, jump and shoot. Matthew Glenesk, The Indianapolis Star, "Indiana By The Numbers: Who wore it best? No. 25," 18 June 2020 Bangkok didn’t really feel the effects of the pandemic until March, when transmission rates started to jump following a cluster of infections at a boxing stadium and a nightclub. National Geographic, "A look inside Thailand, which prevented coronavirus from gaining a foothold," 18 June 2020 The drawbacks are plain: lack of eye contact, frozen screens, inability to read cues or jump into a conversation. Steven Levy, Wired, "Videoconferencing Needs to Climb Out of the Uncanny Valley," 18 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That was a 41% jump overall from that age group’s case total prior to June 3. Chris Casteel, USA TODAY, "Oklahoma coronavirus cases surge, hospitalizations rise ahead of Trump's Tulsa rally," 20 June 2020 Shows good ball skills, is strong in jump-ball situations and has the size and strength to battle with bigger receivers. oregonlive, "Jaylin Davies, 4-star cornerback and key Oregon Ducks target, set to announce decision Friday at noon," 19 June 2020 According to Feeding America, nearly a quarter of Mississippi residents — more than 700,000 people — could struggle to get food this year, a sharp jump from previous years. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Food scarcity is on the rise in America as the economy reels," 19 June 2020 That was a partial reversal of April’s 26.4% decline in housing starts, but nothing like the 22.3% jump economists expected to see. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "Housing Recovery Is Still on the Drafting Board," 17 June 2020 The state’s daily COVID-19 count rose by 12, officials reported Tuesday — a jump from prior days, but without any new deaths. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska’s daily COVID-19 count swings back up with 12 new cases after brief dip into single digits," 17 June 2020 Having started 2020 trading at less than $69 per share, Zoom closed at just over $239 per share on Monday—a 248% jump from the beginning of the year. Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, "Zoom’s stock is now up nearly 250% this year. It has Goldman Sachs in its sights next," 16 June 2020 After a Blazers miss, Johnson skied to win a crucial jump-ball which Thomas retrieved, then drove right and hit a pull-up jumper to tie the score with 36.5 seconds. Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press, "Pistons' Vinnie Johnson cooked Blazers and hit one of the most underrated shots in sports, 30 years ago," 14 June 2020 After someone helped him with a jump start, an Arlington police officer turned on his lights and pulled up behind Sutton, who is black. Dallas News, "‘You feel like you’re not worth anything’: Arlington passes resolution to combat racial inequality," 12 June 2020

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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Statistics for jump

Last Updated

23 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Jump.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jump. Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for jump


How to pronounce jump (audio)

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

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