\ 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

Witnesses told police that a man jumped onto the party bus and was not invited by the group that rented it, police reports say. Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com, "Man crashes party bus, knocks out reveler in downtown Cleveland," 5 Aug. 2019 Even our favorite Georgia peaches from The Real Housewives of Atlanta and soca king Machel Montano took to di road to jump and wave with pride. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "Give It To Dem! 19 Times Toronto's Caribana Gave Us Carnival Fever," 5 Aug. 2019 As the vehicle approached, the man who was with the vehicle charged at them with a knife, jumped on their car and began breaking the sunroof, officials said. Chris Coppola, azcentral, "Sheriff's Office: Man attacks Arkansas couple, then dies after falling off vehicle on Arizona highway," 5 Aug. 2019 In Houston, Emma Tsai’s rambunctious 3-year-old son was kicked out of four preschools near his home – including one that expelled him after just a few hours for jumping around and ignoring safety precautions. Erin Einhorn, NBC News, "Despite laws cracking down on preschool expulsions, thousands of young children a year are put out of school.," 3 Aug. 2019 And when a chance to help the WWE’s developmental brand, NXT — which is run by his friend Triple H — arose, Michaels jumped at the opportunity and was introduced as a trainer at the Performance Center in 2017. Nick Talbot, ExpressNews.com, "Retired WWE superstar and San Antonio native Shawn Michaels enjoying new roles in film, NXT," 1 Aug. 2019 The rookie completed passes to Jakobi Meyers (who jumped over Patrick Chung and Keion Crossen to tip the ball to himself for a TD — the play of the summer so far) and then N’Keal Harry, who made a diving stab for a TD. Jim Mcbride, BostonGlobe.com, "Day 7: Tom Brady rallies the offense after slow start," 1 Aug. 2019 There's no obvious lane available for any other serious candidates to jump in and raise a lot of money. Jason Williams, Cincinnati.com, "PX column: Why P.G. Sittenfeld's donors don't care about text messages and petty squabbles at City Hall," 29 July 2019 That heartbreak led to Janine kidnapping Angela, jumping off a bridge, and getting sent to the hellish Colonies. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "How The Handmaid's Tale Just Made Janine's Story Even More Tragic," 25 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

How big a jump Nebraska makes in Frost’s second season will depend on a number of first-year players, after losing both a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver from last year. The Si Staff, SI.com, "2019 Preview: Nebraska Ready for Next Step in Scott Frost's Second Season," 7 Aug. 2019 When greater challenges emerge in the form of powerful, health-depleting bosses, your suit's jump and dash abilities are just solid enough to afford you the opportunity to survive some hellish firepower. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Metal Wolf Chaos XD: A weirdly timed return to 2004’s robo-blasting innocence," 6 Aug. 2019 Toy began studying with a Russian dance instructor; the leaps and jumps of Cossack dances would become a signature part of her eclectic repertoire. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Remembering Dorothy Toy, a Dazzling Asian-American Tap Dance Star," 5 Aug. 2019 The 10-year Treasury yield was close to completely erasing the jump that followed President Donald Trump's election. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "Stock markets see biggest drop of the year as China escalates trade war with U.S.," 5 Aug. 2019 Drivers can dash, super jump and stomp on opponents during combat, while the passenger can use a shotgun or missile launcher. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Fortnite Season 10: Mechs, Battle Pass gifts and other things you need to know," 1 Aug. 2019 To be honest, this reminds me a little of the Colton-Cassie situation on The Bachelor—not, like, in the fence jump situation, of course, but in the sense that the pair is taking their relationship away from the show's potentially prying eyes. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "'Bachelorette' Hannah Brown Just Confirmed It—Yes, That Drink With Tyler Cameron Is Happening," 1 Aug. 2019 On Tuesday, the GEO Group reported more than $82 million in net income for the year so far, a 14 percent jump from the same period in 2018. New York Times, "Edelman, Public Relations Giant, Drops Client Over Border Detention Centers," 30 July 2019 The jump was driven by strong box office for Avengers: Endgame, shot entirely with Imax's cameras, and overall strength in Greater China, where the exhibitor saw its box office grow 28.9 percent. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Avengers: Endgame' Helps Lift Imax Second-Quarter Earnings," 30 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

9 Aug 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).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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