\ 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

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 Political analysts said that if Mr. Netanyahu loses the mandate to form a government, some members of his Likud party might jump ship to another bloc or present themselves as candidates for prime minister. Felicia Schwartz, WSJ, "Israel’s Netanyahu Expected to Fall Short in Race to Form New Government," 4 May 2021 Looking at the roster as presently constructed with those two openings, there are two factors that jump out immediately. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, "The Utah men’s basketball roster has been a revolving door since Craig Smith’s arrival. Here’s where things stand.," 3 May 2021 The report said organizers are planning to increase the number of hand counters, gaining staff from temp agencies, and jump from 20 counting tables to 46 tables by May 3. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, "Maricopa County 2020 election audit expanding as liaison says 'no deadline'," 2 May 2021 According to researchers, women readers are four times more likely than men to read the last page of a book first and twice as likely to skip pages and jump ahead in the story. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Let’s celebrate the cultural richness of Cinco de Mayo," 1 May 2021 Peru, Venezuela, Uruguay and Colombia have seen cases jump in recent weeks. BostonGlobe.com, "Brazil backs away from the virus brink as deaths top 400,000," 30 Apr. 2021 Meanwhile, SPS Commerce, a Minneapolis company that helps retailers with e-commerce systems, saw its revenue jump 21% as consumers relied more heavily on digital shopping. Star Tribune, "Recovery is more visible as 1Q results at Minnesota companies emerge," 30 Apr. 2021 In Europe and the United States, scientists worry about COVID-19 outbreaks on mink farms, for example, because such events give the virus more opportunities to evolve and jump back into people. Daniel Grossman, Science | AAAS, "Scientists scour the Amazon for pathogens that could spark the next pandemic," 29 Apr. 2021 The pandemic has jump-started e-commerce in South Africa. Brian Browdie, Quartz, "Online shopping is taking hold in mall-loving South Africa," 29 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Officials are seeing a jump in cases in children, from newborns to those age 19. Rashika Jaipuriar, The Indianapolis Star, "Outdoor event capacity increases to 50% in Marion County ahead of Indy 500," 5 May 2021 In an ideal world, the Stars would have opted for Oettinger to start for AHL affiliate Texas this season, gaining another year of experience before making the jump. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "While Jason Robertson gets Calder Trophy hype, the Stars can’t overlook Jake Oettinger’s rookie performance," 4 May 2021 Now, Biden and his supporters are making the next lexical jump, taking what was once an arcane word for physical assets and transforming it to mean anything the government deems worthy of spending. Nicole Gelinas, Washington Examiner, "Joe Biden's magic word," 29 Apr. 2021 And will humans be making the jump to warp speed anytime soon? Mario Borunda, The Conversation, "Warp drives: Physicists give chances of faster–than–light space travel a boost," 23 Apr. 2021 There’s also a long history of foreign coaches having a difficult time achieving the same level of success when making the jump to MLS. Khobi Price, sun-sentinel.com, "Identity, structure and trophies: Here’s what Phil Neville is looking to bring to Inter Miami as coach," 16 Apr. 2021 The effort, part of its mission to promote racial equity and healing, was jump-started by a GoFundMe campaign to purchase food for families of color at the beginning of the pandemic. BostonGlobe.com, "Black farmers seek to put down new roots in New England," 10 Apr. 2021 At many businesses, more folks outside of analytics and data science teams are making the jump from basic data literacy to some level of proficiency. Derek Steer, Forbes, "Four Steps To Make Your Organization More Data-Proficient In The Coming Decade," 17 Mar. 2021 This latter project was jump-started with a vengeance in 2016, when U.K. citizens voted by referendum to exit the EU. Adele M. Stan, The New Republic, "Insurrectionist in Chief," 10 Mar. 2021

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

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jump.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jump. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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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