tump·​line ˈtəmp-ˌlīn How to pronounce tumpline (audio)
: a sling formed by a strap slung over the forehead or chest and used for carrying or helping to support a pack on the back or in hauling loads

Examples of tumpline in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Enlarge / Rodger Kram, left, and James Wilson carry a log with tumplines with the Boulder Foothills in the background. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 24 Feb. 2023 The scientists concluded that the dead represented two populations: a group of tall Brahmans from the plains of India and a company of shorter, local porters, whose skulls were marked by years of carrying heavy loads with a tumpline looped over their heads. Douglas Preston, The New Yorker, 7 Dec. 2020 The road to Catarina begins smoothly, rising from Antigua through pine forests where indigenous families carry firewood up mountain paths on their backs, with tumplines looped over their foreheads bearing the weight. Rachel Nolan, Harper's magazine, 10 June 2019 Phelan’s men were issued an oiled leather tumpline with two long tails. Pippa Biddle, The Atlantic, 18 Aug. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tumpline.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


tump, of Algonquian origin; akin to Eastern Abenaki mádûmbí pack strap

First Known Use

1796, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tumpline was in 1796

Dictionary Entries Near tumpline

Cite this Entry

“Tumpline.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tumpline. Accessed 23 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


tump·​line ˈtəm-ˌplīn How to pronounce tumpline (audio)
: a strap placed over the forehead or chest and used to support or help support a pack on the back or to haul a load
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