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[buhmp] /bʌmp/
verb (used with object)
to come more or less violently in contact with; collide with; strike:
His car bumped a truck.
to cause to strike or collide:
He bumped the car against a tree.
to dislodge or displace by the force of collision.
to dislodge by appropriating the privileges of:
The airline bumped me from the flight.
to demote or dismiss:
He was bumped from his job.
to force upward; raise:
Demand from abroad bumped the price of corn.
to move to a new position:
We had to bump your story to next week's paper.
Digital Technology. to move (an online post or thread) to the top of the reverse chronological list by adding a new comment or post to the thread:
I bumped the question I posted last week to make it more visible.
Poker. raise (def 24).
verb (used without object)
to come in contact or collide with (often followed by against or into):
She bumped into me.
to bounce along; proceed in a series of jolts:
The old car bumped down the road.
to dance by thrusting the pelvis forward abruptly, in a provocative manner, especially to the accompaniment of an accented musical beat.
Compare grind (def 14).
to boil with violent jolts caused by the sudden eruption of large bubbles through the surface.
an act or instance of bumping; collision; blow.
the shock of a blow or collision.
a swelling or contusion from a blow.
a small area raised above the level of the surrounding surface; protuberance:
He tripped over a bump on the sidewalk.
Informal. a promotion or demotion; transfer to a higher or lower level:
He got a bump to vice president of the company.
Informal. an increase in amount, especially of salary or a wager:
He asked the boss for a ten-dollar bump.
Aeronautics. a rapidly rising current of air that gives an airplane a severe upward thrust.
a dance movement in which the pelvis is abruptly thrust forward in a provocative manner, especially to the accompaniment of an accented musical beat.
Compare grind (def 20).
Mining. crump (def 6).
Verb phrases
bump into, Informal. to meet by chance:
I bumped into an old friend yesterday.
bump off, Slang. to kill, especially to murder:
They bumped him off because he knew too much.
Origin of bump
First recorded in 1560-70; imitative
Related forms
bumpingly, adverb
unbumped, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bumping
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • bumping along the trail into Datura, Aaron Stoltzfoos studied the land.

    Blind Man's Lantern Allen Kim Lang
  • "bumping at Oxford," to use an aquatic term, why it was nothing!

  • I may at this point give a word of advice to a coxswain in a bumping Race.

    Rowing Rudolf Chambers Lehmann
  • bumping their nose into a tied lion that way—how'd they know?

  • bumping him into the wall he bore down upon him growling in a voice obviously assumed and grossly piratical: "Sit there!"

    Ann Arbor Tales Karl Edwin Harriman
  • bumping its way over the green grass came a kiddie car with a small boy astride it.

  • bumping” is common in open boiling when the liquid is free from air bubbles and the interior of the vessel is very smooth.

  • bumping over fallen trees, creaking and groaning and swaying, came the boat-wagon.

    Tenting To-night Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • bumping along he recalled to his mind the various girls with whom he had gone to school.

    Dust Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
British Dictionary definitions for bumping


when intr, usually foll by against or into. to knock or strike with a jolt
(intransitive) often foll by along. to travel or proceed in jerks and jolts
(transitive) to hurt by knocking: he bumped his head on the ceiling
(transitive) to knock out of place; dislodge: the crash bumped him from his chair
(transitive) (Brit) to throw (a child) into the air, one other child holding each limb, and let him down again to touch the ground
(in rowing races, esp at Oxford and Cambridge) to catch up with and touch (another boat that started a fixed distance ahead)
(cricket) to bowl (a ball) so that it bounces high on pitching or (of a ball) to bounce high when bowled
(intransitive) (mainly US & Canadian) to dance erotically by thrusting the pelvis forward (esp in the phrase bump and grind)
(transitive) (poker) to raise (someone)
(transitive) (informal) to exclude a ticket-holding passenger from a flight as a result of overbooking
(transitive) (informal) to displace (someone or something) from a previously allocated position: the story was bumped from the front page
(US, slang) bump uglies, to have sexual intercourse
an impact; knock; jolt; collision
a dull thud or other noise from an impact or collision
the shock of a blow or collision
a lump on the body caused by a blow
a protuberance, as on a road surface
any of the natural protuberances of the human skull, said by phrenologists to indicate underlying faculties and character
a rising current of air that gives an aircraft a severe upward jolt
(pl) the act of bumping a child. See sense 5
(rowing) the act of bumping See bumping race
(cricket) bump ball, a ball that bounces into the air after being hit directly into the ground by the batsman
Word Origin
C16: probably of imitative origin
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 bumping



1590s, "protuberance caused by a blow;" 1610s as "a dull, solid blow;" see bump (v.). The dancer's bump and grind attested from 1940.



1560s, "to bulge out;" 1610s, "to strike heavily," perhaps from Scandinavian, probably echoic, original sense was "hitting" then of "swelling from being hit." Also has a long association with obsolete bum "to make a booming noise," which perhaps influenced surviving senses such as bumper crop, for something full to the brim (see bumper). To bump into "meet" is from 1880s; to bump off "kill" is 1908 in underworld slang. Related: Bumped; bumping. Bumpsy (adj.) was old slang for "drunk" (1610s).

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



Excellent; wonderful; cool, rad: The product has kickin' taste and bumpin' packaging. (That means it tastes good and looks good) (1980s+ Students)



  1. A job promotion: I see old Pipkin has got the bump to full professor (1930s+)
  2. In dancing, a thrust of the pelvis: She unreeled about fifty bumps in dazzling staccato
  3. A drink; slug: They go out and have a bump of whiskey (1980s+)
  4. A party (1980s+ Teenagers)


  1. To discharge; dismiss; fire: They bumped him for insubordination (1915+)
  2. To take away one person's status in order to accommodate someone of greater importance or seniority: A person is bumped by someone with a larger number of retention points (1860+ Railroad)
  3. To cancel a reserved seat on an airline, bus, etc, because the vehicle has been oversold: To be bumped means to be put off a flight because too many seats have been sold (1940s+)
  4. To displace a sports opponent by defeat: The Indians bumped the Tigers out of third place (1950s+)
  5. To kill; BUMP someone OFF (1910+)
  6. To make pregnant; KNOCK someone UP: She had to blame someone for bumping her (1930s+)
  7. To do the sex act with or to (1980s+ Students)
  8. To promote: He got bumped to assistant manager (1930s+)
  9. To raise a bet (1930s+ Poker)
  10. In dancing, esp in striptease, to thrust the pelvis forward and up •Nearly always in combination with grind (1940s+ Show business)

Related Terms

hump and bump, like a bump on a log

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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Idioms and Phrases with bumping
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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