1 of 2


plural bumps
: a relatively abrupt convexity or protuberance on a surface: such as
: a swelling of tissue
Her face flawless. Not a bump, a splotch or a freckle.Katy Kelly
: a sudden rise or uneven area in a road surface likely to jolt a passing vehicle
a bump in the road
phrenology : a cranial protuberance
: a sudden forceful blow, impact, or jolt
felt a bump when the boat hit the dock
: an action of thrusting the hips forward with an abrupt suggestive motion (as in a dance or in a burlesque striptease act) compare grind entry 2 sense 4
: baby bump
Confirming her pregnancy at the September 6 MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye West's ex, 28, showed off her bump for the first time on the red carpet.Allison Corneau
: an increase in amount
a slight bump in wages/prices
… since "Glee" burst on the scene last fall, some local show choirs have seen a bump in auditions …Kristin Tillotson
slang : a small quantity of an illicit drug when inhaled in powdered form at one time
At her first few shows Savannah did bumps of coke off her pinkie before hitting the stage.Peter Wilkinson
volleyball : the act or an instance of bumping (see bump entry 2 sense 4) the ball with the forearms
Loara High volleyball player Juli Miles demonstrates how to execute a bump during a match … . As the ball approaches, bring in your elbows and lock them so that your forearms are close to touching, which creates a nice, flat platform for the ball to bounce off.Laura Czingula


2 of 2


bumped; bumping; bumps

transitive verb

: to strike or knock (something, such as a body part) with sudden force or violence
I fell and bumped my head.
He bumped his elbow on/against the table.
: to hit and move or dislodge (someone or something)
Be careful not to bump that vase.
She accidentally bumped [= knocked] my drink out of my hand.
One day, when I was lining up to go into … class, another boy accidentally bumped me with his shoulder …Simon Troeth
: to move (someone or something) to a different level, position, rank, etc.
rates being bumped up
The team got bumped out of first place.
Bumping a meeting to the next week only makes the next week more busy.Adaira Landry and Resa E. Lewiss
: to remove (someone or something) usually by virtue of seniority or priority
The flight was overbooked, so I was bumped.
… opt for the morning to kick-start the day and stop your evening workout getting bumped off the list.Janan Jay
: to cause (a post or thread on social media) to move to a more prominent and noticeable position
Just wanna bump this tweet again on your feeds …LaurenZside, on Twitter
Scammers … post about a hurt animal. … They ask the public to "bump the post" and when it is shared widely, they add a malicious link.Erin Miller
volleyball : to hit (the ball) with the forearms held close together and facing upward (as when receiving a serve)
Hitting a ball with your bare forearms might sound painful, but it won't be if you learn how to bump the ball properly.Eric Rinehimer
US slang : to play or listen to (recorded music and especially rap)
… a portable DVD/CD player that bumps the new Snoop Dogg through surround-sound speakers …Daniel G. Habib

intransitive verb

: to strike or knock against something or someone with a sudden forceful thud or jolt
often used with into or against
The boat bumped against the pier.
They bumped into us from behind.
: to proceed in an up and down motion across a rough surface
The truck bumped along the dirt road.
: to encounter something that is an obstacle or hindrance
usually used with into or against
The Americans have pushed off that conversation, which risks bumping into that country's sensitive immigration politics.Alexander Panetta
They're bumping against the limits of technology. = They're bumping up against the limits of technology.
bump into
: to encounter especially by chance

Examples of bump in a Sentence

Noun He wound up with a few minor bumps and bruises from the fight. Did you feel a bump? Verb I have a bruise from where I bumped my head. Be careful not to bump the vase. You nearly bumped me off the edge! The jolt bumped him right out of his seat. They bumped into us from behind. The boat bumped against the pier. The TV show will be bumped to a new time. Increasing fuel costs are bumping the company's prices higher. The loss bumped us out of first place. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
The man, whose immune system had been suppressed by cancer treatments, first noticed a tender red bump in his underarm. Melissa Rudy, Fox News, 13 Feb. 2024 A lot of issues with inflammatory acne (like cystic acne) occur under the skin, and this can cause these flare-ups which make angry bumps protrude. Madison Yauger, Peoplemag, 9 Feb. 2024 Our attempt at blending our kids and families has hit a lot of hard bumps. Jeanne Phillips, The Mercury News, 8 Feb. 2024 During the week ending January 27, more than 82,000 people who visited an emergency department were diagnosed with influenza, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — an 8% bump, or about 6,000 more than the week before. Deidre McPhillips, CNN, 5 Feb. 2024 Look for companies where managers rise through the ranks, promotions come with bigger pay bumps, and employees stick around to build careers. Lauren Weber, WSJ, 2 Feb. 2024 That led to a more than 35,000 bump in registrations and record-breaking traffic on the Vote.org website, the group's CEO said. Sarah Beth Hensley, ABC News, 2 Feb. 2024 That road bump, thankfully, appears to have passed — the only remaining fear will be that felt by those who like their folk music squeaky clean and safe. Aaron Davis, Sacramento Bee, 28 Jan. 2024 But after the story was published, Gardner said Good Karma also saw a bump in direct year-end donations of both money and bicycles — and made some key contacts that could lead to additional outside funding in the coming year. Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, 28 Jan. 2024
Kelce, who was not in the game during the play, then marched over to Reid and grabbed his left arm while bumping into him and screaming. Sean Neumann, Peoplemag, 14 Feb. 2024 The most excitement in the first half came when a frustrated Kelce bumped Reid on the sideline, knocking the Chiefs’ 65-year-old coach a few steps back after teammate Isiah Pacheco fumbled inside the red zone during the second quarter. Rob Maaddi, Twin Cities, 12 Feb. 2024 The Chiefs were so frustrated, Kelce screamed at Reid and bumped him. Sean Gregory, TIME, 12 Feb. 2024 Which raises another question: Is this viewership bump noticeably different from the spikes seen with other popular teams, like the Dallas Cowboys or San Francisco 49ers? Francesca Paris, New York Times, 10 Feb. 2024 Busby was shot and killed around 11 p.m. on Oct. 9, 2019 after Colston and his group of friends bumped into Busby sleeping in a vehicle on the 800 block of 77th Avenue in East Oakland. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, 8 Feb. 2024 For older models, simply tap the screen, bump the nightstand, or ask Siri to bring StandBy to life. Simon Hill, WIRED, 7 Feb. 2024 Others found the cone blocked their peripheral vision, which meant their dog sometimes bumped into them. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 26 Jan. 2024 Savage’s American Dream last week bumped Swift’s re-recorded LP from top spot. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 26 Jan. 2024 See More

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

Word History



probably imitative of the sound of a blow

First Known Use


1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1558, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of bump was in 1533

Dictionary Entries Near bump

Cite this Entry

“Bump.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bump. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a forceful blow, shock, or jolt
: a rounded lump
especially : a swelling of tissue (as from a blow)


2 of 2 verb
: to strike or knock against something with force or violence
: to move along unevenly : jolt

More from Merriam-Webster on bump

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!