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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web 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 example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tumpline.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 26 Nov. 2022.

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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