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

For international business, the risks could be clearly seen after crude oil prices jumped nearly 4% after the June limpet mine attacks in the Gulf of Oman. Washington Post, "New US-led patrols in Persian Gulf raise stakes with Iran," 3 Sep. 2019 Bethenny Frankel is jumping into action to help those affected by Hurricane Dorian. Claudia Harmata, PEOPLE.com, "Bethenny Frankel Travels to Florida and the Bahamas to Help with Hurricane Dorian Relief," 3 Sep. 2019 The European Commission itself has jumped into the fray. Adam Rasmi, Quartz, "These mind-bending flowcharts show just how messy Brexit has become," 3 Sep. 2019 After a back-and-forth start to the second set, Bencic jumped to a 4-2 lead by winning a 21-shot rally with a forehand pass. Alaa Abdeldaiem, SI.com, "No. 1 Naomi Osaka Upset by Belinda Bencic in Fourth Round of U.S. Open," 2 Sep. 2019 The family and the police jumped into action, with groups of people at both Grinnell and Northwestern conducting searches for Tammy. Grace Stetson, NBC News, "76-year-old mother continues to fight for justice for daughter killed 27 years ago," 30 Aug. 2019 As police were investigating the Riverside crash, the man jumped into a stopped police SUV and sped away after a struggle with police, WHIO-TV reported. The Enquirer, Cincinnati.com, "2 children dead, 10 hurt after man steals police SUV, crashes in Dayton, reports say," 27 Aug. 2019 Team Vietnam jumped into three vehicles in a mad rush to find better cover within the safe zone. Aron Garst, The Verge, "Illegal tournaments and rejected visas: Team Vietnam’s long road to the PUBG Nations Cup," 20 Aug. 2019 Barns heating up Trainers Richard Baltas and Phil D’Amato finally jump-started their meets during Pacific Classic week. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: At Del Mar, Victor Espinoza is back in a big way," 20 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

An automatic volume leveling feature aims to keep you from scrambling for your remote every time there’s a jump or dip in the volume when the scene changes. Wired, "Roku Debuts a Soundbar, and It Comes With a Roku Built In," 4 Sep. 2019 The jump is particularly concerning due to the rise in antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacteria, but gonorrhea’s comeback isn’t an outlier. Kaitlin Sullivan, NBC News, "'Extreme' personal grooming isn't linked to increased risk of STIs," 4 Sep. 2019 Last month, the Pretty Little Liars star posted Instagram Story videos from her afternoon workout session, which included some pretty impressive jump squats. Helen Murphy, PEOPLE.com, "Pregnant Shay Mitchell and Boyfriend Matte Babel Disagree About Using an Epidural During Labor," 4 Sep. 2019 There’s the jump from the inanimate to the animate: the origin of life. Antonio G. Valdecasas, The Conversation, "Evolution doesn’t proceed in a straight line – so why draw it that way?," 3 Sep. 2019 There were 53,720 workers in this group as of 2018, with 17,040 new jobs added since 2008 — a jump of 46 percent. Brittany Meiling, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Is your paycheck keeping up with San Diego’s inflation?," 2 Sep. 2019 Webb – all 6-foot-6 of him – outleaped a much smaller Auburn defender and made a jump-ball catch for the touchdown and a 14-3 lead. Josh Bean | Jbean@al.com, al, "Quarter-by-quarter look at Auburn’s 27-21 victory over Oregon," 31 Aug. 2019 The jump also activates mutations that randomly emerge in the young. Gieson Cacho, The Mercury News, "Review: ‘Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey’ brings a different past to life," 30 Aug. 2019 That was a jump of $745,577 over the original proposal from United Maintenance. Anthony Clark Carpio, Burbank Leader, "Airport officials change decision, award janitorial contract to incumbent," 30 Aug. 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

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

6 Sep 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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