jump

verb
\ 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)

jump

noun

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

jump

adverb

Definition of jump (Entry 3 of 3)

obsolete

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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

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

Fishermen dream of fish that obligingly jump aboard, but in the South and Midwest this is more the... Richard Adams Carey, WSJ, "‘Overrun’ Review: Too Many Fish to Fry," 12 May 2019 When the news came out that Fields was jumping schools, Tate Martell, last year’s backup and seemingly the heir apparent at Ohio State, quickly announced his transfer and caught on with Miami. Mitch Stacy, The Seattle Times, "Is there really a quarterback competition at Ohio State?," 13 Apr. 2019 The part that should really jump out for listeners is when Carlson defends child rape. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Despite What Tucker Carlson Thinks, Women Aren't Something to Possess," 19 Mar. 2019 Its revenue and marketshare had both jumped substantially in the wake of Uber’s repeated public relations disasters, which culminated in the departure of the ride-hailing giant’s founder and CEO Travis Kalanick. Faiz Siddiqui, The Seattle Times, "As it gets set for IPO, Lyft outlines all the reasons ride-sharing could fail," 25 Mar. 2019 That’s impressive enough, but the top-of-the-line S10+ goes even bigger, jumping straight past 10GB of RAM to an unheard-of 12GB, almost as much as the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "10 Samsung Galaxy S10, S10e, and S10+ features that actually surprised us," 20 Feb. 2019 Moss jumps back and forth in time to try to unmask the killer, exploring different timelines and suspects. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Our favorite science fiction and fantasy books of 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 Chevron is jumping on a good deal that shareholders don’t need. Lauren Silva Laughlin, WSJ, "Chevron Shareholders Had a Different Kind of Green in Mind," 12 Apr. 2019 The unprecedented Tubbs Fire jumped Highway 101 and took out the house Okrepkie and his wife were renting, along with more than 1,000 of their neighbors’ homes. Susie Cagle, Curbed, "California’s changing fire country," 10 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But just as important for Castro, the step gives him an early jump on bigger name Democrats who are considering running but are taking a slower approach. Paul J. Weber, The Seattle Times, "APNewsBreak: Julian Castro moves toward 2020 White House run," 12 Dec. 2018 Nightflyers is the better model, relying less on gore and jump-scares, and instead producing slow-burning psychological suspense. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers asks whether humanity deserves to be saved," 29 Nov. 2018 This relies more on zombie jump-scares and a colorful cast of characters. Joyce Bautista Ferrari, Marie Claire, "The Best Horror Movies That Aren't Too Scary," 29 Oct. 2018 By allowing its actors to really dig into their reactions, rather than using quick cuts and jump scares, Hereditary enables the very warped and freaky scenario in the film to feel grounded (and even more scary). Jacob Oller, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'Hereditary' Flips Steven Spielberg's Trademark Shot," 10 June 2018 Get an early jump on things with the annual Family Fun Before the Fourth event. Geoff Bruce, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Everything you need to know about Fourth of July in Milwaukee and the suburbs," 6 June 2018 Alberto got an early jump on the Atlantic hurricane season, which officially starts Friday. Jennifer Kay, BostonGlobe.com, "Alberto strikes Gulf Coast with dangerous surf, heavy rains," 28 May 2018 Every parent wants his or her baby to have an early jump on life. Erik Vance, Scientific American, "Sorry, Mom and Dad, Toys Cannot Supercharge Your Baby," 15 May 2018 The steady growth of the premium-cable and streaming service to $6.3 billion in revenue last year helped power its parent company, Time Warner, to $31.3 billion in revenue—a 7-percent overall jump despite dips in other divisions. David Sims, The Atlantic, "AT&T’s Troubling Plan to Make HBO More Like Netflix," 9 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

Verb

1530, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

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

Adverb

1539, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for jump

Verb

probably akin to Low German gumpen to jump

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Learn More about jump

Dictionary Entries near jump

jument

jumma

Jumnapari

jump

jumpable

jump all over

jump at

Statistics for jump

Last Updated

17 May 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

jump

verb

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)

jump

noun

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

jump

verb
\ 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

jump

noun

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

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