bottom

1 of 3

noun

bot·​tom ˈbä-təm How to pronounce bottom (audio)
1
a
: the underside of something
at the bottom of the box
a cut on the bottom of her foot
The vase is signed on the bottom.
b
: a surface (such as the seat of a chair) designed to support something resting on it
used figuratively in phrases like the bottom dropped out to describe a sudden collapse or downturn
lost millions when the bottom dropped out of the stock market
c
: buttocks, rump
a baby with a rash on his bottom
2
: the surface on which a body of water lies
sank to the bottom of the ocean
3
nautical
a
: the part of a ship's hull lying below the water
b
: boat, ship
cargo … carried by foreign bottomsVirginia A. Oakes
4
a
: the lowest part or place
the bottom of the page
stood at the bottom of the stairs
b
: the remotest or inmost point
sail to the bottom of the bay
c
: the lowest or last place in rank or position
The CEO started at the bottom and worked her way up.
graduated at the bottom of the class
the bottom of the pay scale
d
clothing : the part of a garment worn on the lower part of the body
white tops and navy blue bottoms
a bikini bottom
especially : the pants of pajamas
usually used in plural
e
baseball : the last half of an inning
the bottom of the ninth
f
music : the bass or baritone instruments of a band
5
geography : bottomland
usually used in plural
the Mississippi river bottoms
6
: basis, source
trying to get to the bottom of these rumors
7
: capacity (as of a horse) to endure strain
a breed of dogs outstanding for bottom
8
textiles : a foundation color applied to fibers before dyeing
9
physics : a fundamental quark that accounts for the existence and lifetime of upsilon particles and has an electric charge of −¹/₃ and a measured energy of approximately 5 GeV
also : the flavor (see flavor entry 1 sense 4b) characterizing this particle
bottomed adjective

bottom

2 of 3

verb

bottomed; bottoming; bottoms

transitive verb

1
: to furnish (something, such as a chair) with a bottom
2
: to provide a foundation for
men who wanted to bottom the dreams of the RomanticsBonamy Dobrée
3
: to bring to the bottom
bottomed the submarine on the ocean floor
4
: to find the basis or source of (something, such as a rumor) : to get to the bottom (see bottom entry 1 sense 6) of
The mystery hasn't been bottomed.

intransitive verb

1
: to become based or grounded
find on what foundation any proposition bottomsJohn Locke
2
: to reach the bottom
bottoming on the sea floor
3
: to reach a point where a decline is halted or reversed
usually used with out
The team bottomed out in last place.
bottomer noun

bottom

3 of 3

adjective

1
: of, relating to, or situated at the bottom (see bottom entry 1)
bottom rock
2
: frequenting the lowest part or place : frequenting the bottom
bottom fish
Phrases
at bottom
: really, basically
It is, at bottom, a love song.

Example Sentences

Noun We sailed to the bottom of the bay. the bottom of the garden The poor baby has a rash all over his little bottom. The company's new CEO started at the bottom and worked her way up. Why do I always find myself rooting for the team at the bottom of the league? at the bottom of the pay scale Adjective the bottom rung of the ladder Somebody's fingerprints are all along the bottom edge of the photograph. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Along with charging ports at the bottom of the center stack, the system features hard buttons and physical knobs for volume and tuning. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 21 Jan. 2023 Worrying about saving has always been hard for 20-somethings who begin their careers at the bottom of their earning potential. Isabella Simonetti, New York Times, 20 Jan. 2023 At the bottom of a 10-point press release outlining notable figures of the last year, China’s National Bureau of Statistics announced on Tuesday that the country’s total population declined by 850,000 between the end of 2021 and the end of 2022. Time, 20 Jan. 2023 At the bottom of the ocean 400 million years ago, a knight in shining armor may have used a long trident to joust against the competition and win the hand of a fair lady. Teresa Nowakowski, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Jan. 2023 The dog was stuck at the bottom of the tube, but firefighters quickly got him up a ladder to safety. CBS News, 19 Jan. 2023 Usually the plants are potted at the bottom of the wall and the vines are encouraged to grow upward through the trellis, resulting in a lush living wall. Cori Sears, Better Homes & Gardens, 19 Jan. 2023 Bake at the bottom of the oven for 15 minutes, or until the salmon is beautifully cooked through. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, 18 Jan. 2023 The Toreros’ practice field is at the bottom of a steep hill. Don Norcross, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Jan. 2023
Verb
Typically, gas prices bottom out in mid-winter and then start to rise in spring as more drivers take to the road. Michael E. Kanell, ajc, 18 Jan. 2023 Saturday night will be cloudy and the temperature will bottom out at about 39 degrees. The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 30 Dec. 2022 Most franchises have to bottom out to restock their cupboards this well. Dallas News, 16 Dec. 2022 In the future, Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi expects the story to begin to change: The free-fall in home sales will soon bottom out, while the home price correction will carry on. Lance Lambert, Fortune, 4 Jan. 2023 Evening clouds give way to clearer skies as low temperatures bottom out in the mid- to upper 20s. A. Camden Walker, Washington Post, 18 Dec. 2022 By Friday morning, Chicago’s wind chill will bottom out at 30 degrees below zero. Aya Elamroussi, CNN, 21 Dec. 2022 The entire region should bottom out in the 20s, with a few upper 20s possible in downtown urban areas and along larger bodies of water. A. Camden Walker, Washington Post, 16 Dec. 2022 Willie Fritz had led No. 18 Tulane to three consecutive bowl from 2018-20 but saw his team bottom out at 2-10 a year ago amid an utter collapse on defense and a series of close losses. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, 1 Dec. 2022
Adjective
Those in the bottom 10% saw weekly pay grow 9.8% from a year earlier at the end of 2022, to $571 a week. Gabriel T. Rubin, WSJ, 23 Jan. 2023 However, a continued fall in demand for respirators and the strengthening U.S. dollar will likely weigh on the overall top and bottom-line expansion. Trefis Team, Forbes, 23 Jan. 2023 Beginning with Minnesota on Saturday, the Colts play four consecutive defenses ranked 16th or worse against the run, and the final three teams — the Chargers, Giants and Texans — are all in the bottom five. The Indianapolis Star, 15 Dec. 2022 Both the Colts and the Steelers are in the bottom five of the league in scoring. Doug Ziefel, Chicago Tribune, 28 Nov. 2022 Tennessee is tied for 10th in the league in sacks with 30, while the Bengals are in the bottom five with just 16 on the year. cleveland, 27 Nov. 2022 Shelton said the performance was a moment of redemption for Leatherwood, who found himself in the bottom four last week. Edward Segarra, USA TODAY, 22 Nov. 2022 According to the report, these billionaires’ investments produce an annual average of 3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per person, which is a million times higher than the average 2.76 tons of CO2 for those living in the bottom 90%. Sophie Tanno, CNN, 7 Nov. 2022 Donovan and partner Emma Slater landed in the bottom two alongside Guadagnino and partner Koko Iwasaki. Emily Longeretta, Variety, 7 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English botme, botom, bothom, going back to Old English botm, *boðm, going back to Germanic *butma- (whence, with varying dental consonants, Old Saxon bođom "ground, bottom," Old High German bodam, Old Norse botn), going back to Indo-European *bhudh-mḗn, *bhudh-mn-ós, whence also Greek pythmḗn "bottom, ground, base," Sanskrit budhná- and (with metathesis of stop and nasal) Latin fundus "bottom, base," Middle Irish bonn "sole of the foot"

Verb

derivative of bottom entry 1

Adjective

from attributive use of bottom entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1544, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bottom was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near bottom

Cite this Entry

“Bottom.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bottom. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

bottom

1 of 2 noun
bot·​tom ˈbät-əm How to pronounce bottom (audio)
1
a
: the undersurface of something
b
: a supporting surface or part : base
2
: the surface on which a body of water lies
3
a
: the part of a ship's hull lying below the water
4
: the lowest part, place, or point
the bottom of the page
5
: the part of a garment worn on the lower part of the body
especially : the trousers of pajamas
usually used in plural
6
: lowland along a river
the Mississippi River bottoms
7
: the most basic or central part : heart
get to the bottom of the problem
8
: the last half of an inning of baseball
bottomed adjective

bottom

2 of 2 verb
1
: to provide a foundation for
2
: to rest on, bring to, or reach the bottom

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