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[bouns] /baʊns/
verb (used without object), bounced, bouncing.
to spring back from a surface in a lively manner:
The ball bounced off the wall.
to strike the ground or other surface, and rebound:
The ball bounced once before he caught it.
to move or walk in a lively, exuberant, or energetic manner:
She bounced into the room.
to move along in a lively manner, repeatedly striking the surface below and rebounding:
The box bounced down the stairs.
to move about or enter or leave noisily or angrily (followed by around, about, out, out of, into, etc.):
He bounced out of the room in a huff.
(of a check or the like) to fail to be honored by the bank against which it was drawn, due to lack of sufficient funds.
verb (used with object), bounced, bouncing.
to cause to bound and rebound:
to bounce a ball; to bounce a child on one's knee; to bounce a signal off a satellite.
to refuse payment on (a check) because of insufficient funds:
The bank bounced my rent check.
to give (a bad check) as payment:
That's the first time anyone bounced a check on me.
Slang. to eject, expel, or dismiss summarily or forcibly.
a bound or rebound:
to catch a ball on the first bounce.
a sudden spring or leap:
In one bounce he was at the door.
ability to rebound; resilience:
This tennis ball has no more bounce.
vitality; energy; liveliness:
There is bounce in his step. This soda water has more bounce to it.
the fluctuation in magnitude of target echoes on a radarscope.
Slang. a dismissal, rejection, or expulsion:
He's gotten the bounce from three different jobs.
with a bounce; suddenly.
Verb phrases
bounce back, to recover quickly:
After losing the first game of the double-header, the team bounced back to win the second.
Origin of bounce
1175-1225; Middle English buncin, bounsen, variant of bunkin, apparently cognate with Dutch bonken to thump, belabor, bonzen to knock, bump
Related forms
bounceable, adjective
bounceably, adverb
14. animation, vivacity, life, spirit, pep, vigor, zip. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bounce
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then tell me, w'at for they bounce' our Fidle, and let Carron got 'is place?

    In Madeira Place Heman White Chaplin
  • The one called must quickly run and catch the ball on the first bounce.

  • Having settled the plan of his future proceedings, bounce did not waste more time in thought or speech.

    The Wild Man of the West R.M. Ballantyne
  • "Well, I guess I've got some bounce in me, certainly," agreed Diana.

  • I always temporized until I heard the tree falling, then off he would dash, and bounce into its top to yelp and explore.

    Bruno Byrd Spilman Dewey
British Dictionary definitions for bounce


(intransitive) (of an elastic object, such as a ball) to rebound from an impact
(transitive) to cause (such an object) to hit a solid surface and spring back
to rebound or cause to rebound repeatedly
to move or cause to move suddenly, excitedly, or violently; spring: she bounced up from her chair
(slang) (of a bank) to send (a cheque) back or (of a cheque) to be sent back unredeemed because of lack of funds in the drawer's account
(of an internet service provider) to send (an email message) back or (of an email message) to be sent back to the sender, for example because the recipient's email account is full
(transitive) (slang) to force (a person) to leave (a place or job); throw out; eject
(transitive) (Brit) to hustle (a person) into believing or doing something
the action of rebounding from an impact
a leap; jump; bound
the quality of being able to rebound; springiness
(informal) vitality; vigour; resilience
(Brit) swagger or impudence
(informal) a temporary increase or rise
(Australian rules football) the bounce, the start of play at the beginning of each quarter or after a goal
(US, informal) get the bounce, give the bounce, to dismiss or be dismissed from a job
(informal) on the bounce, in succession; one after the other: they have lost nine games on the bounce
Word Origin
C13: probably of imitative origin; compare Low German bunsen to beat, Dutch bonken to thump
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bounce

early 13c., bounsen "to thump, hit," perhaps from Dutch bonzen "to beat, thump," or Low German bunsen, or imitative; sense probably influenced by bound (v.). Sense of "to bounce like a ball" is from 1510s; the rubber check sense is from 1927. Related: Bounced; bouncing.


1520s, "a heavy blow," also "a leap, a rebound" from bounce (v.). In reference to politicians and public opinion polls, by 1996, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bounce



  1. Energy; vitality; piss and vinegar, pizzazz •Perhaps fr a 1930s term for a lively jazz tempo: more bounce to the ounce (1940s+)
  2. Aprisonsentence: You're going down as an accessory to assault and battery, a serious bounce (1950s+ Underworld)
  3. (also bump)A sudden and sometime brief increase in rating, popularity, value, etc: The Republicans got a three-point bounce out of their convention (1980+)


  1. To expel; throw out: When he started swearing, they bounced him (1870s+)
  2. To discharge or dismiss; fire (1880s+)
  3. To be rejected for lack of funds in the bank: His checks never bounce (1920s+)
  4. To intimidate; bully; roust •Esp police use: And I'll want to bounce this Nadine kid, see what she has to say (1600s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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bounce in Technology

1. (Perhaps by analogy to a bouncing check) An electronic mail message that is undeliverable and returns an error notification (a "bounce message") to the sender is said to "bounce".
2. To play volleyball. The now-demolished D. C. Power Lab building used by the Stanford AI Lab in the 1970s had a volleyball court on the front lawn. From 5 PM to 7 PM was the scheduled maintenance time for the computer, so every afternoon at 5 would come over the intercom the cry: "Now hear this: bounce, bounce!", followed by Brian McCune loudly bouncing a volleyball on the floor outside the offices of known volleyballers.
3. To engage in sexual intercourse; probably from the expression "bouncing the mattress", but influenced by Roo's psychosexually loaded "Try bouncing me, Tigger!" from the "Winnie-the-Pooh" books.
Compare boink.
4. To casually reboot a system in order to clear up a transient problem. Reported primarily among VMS users.
5. (VM/CMS programmers) Automatic warm-start of a computer after an error. "I logged on this morning and found it had bounced 7 times during the night"
6. (IBM) To power cycle a peripheral in order to reset it.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Idioms and Phrases with bounce
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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