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[suhmp] /sʌmp/
a pit, well, or the like in which water or other liquid is collected.
Machinery. a chamber at the bottom of a machine, pump, circulation system, etc., into which a fluid drains before recirculation or in which wastes gather before disposal.
  1. a space where water is allowed to collect at the bottom of a shaft or below a passageway.
  2. a pilot shaft or tunnel pushed out in front of a main bore.
British. crankcase.
British Dialect. a swamp, bog, or muddy pool.
Origin of sump
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English sompe < Middle Low German or Middle Dutch sump; cognate with German Sumpf; akin to swamp Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sump
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Because, as he was prone to admit to himself, "dey was sump'in' in de unnerstannin'."

    The heart of happy hollow Paul Laurence Dunbar
  • A manhole had to be put in the top and a sump in the bottom.

    Concrete Construction Halbert P. Gillette
  • It may have been on the office sofa or it may have been in the sump.

    A Safety Match

    Ian Hay
  • But lemme tell ye, thar was more'n sump'n to eat in that bag!

    A Cumberland Vendetta John Fox, Jr.
  • We've got a good quarter-mile of deep rock for the sump hole.

    The Thirst Quenchers Rick Raphael
  • That was the purpose of the four nuclear pumps in the sump hole.

    The Thirst Quenchers Rick Raphael
  • "I got sump'n to tell you," said July, hastening to change an embarrassing subject.

    Captain Ted Louis Pendleton
  • "He wuz jes signin' some kin' er deeds or sump'n," said Daddy.

    Diddie, Dumps & Tot Louise-Clarke Pyrnelle
  • Ef I ain't done come traipsin' off en lef' my ole man money-pus, en he got sump'n' in dar w'at he won't take a purty fer, needer!

    Nights With Uncle Remus Joel Chandler Harris
British Dictionary definitions for sump


a receptacle, such as the lower part of the crankcase of an internal-combustion engine, into which liquids, esp lubricants, can drain to form a reservoir
another name for cesspool
  1. a depression at the bottom of a shaft where water collects before it is pumped away
  2. the front portion of a shaft or tunnel, ahead of the main bore
(Brit, dialect) a muddy pool or swamp
Word Origin
C17: from Middle Dutch somp marsh; see swamp
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 sump

early 15c., "marsh, morass," from Middle Dutch somp or Middle Low German sump, from Proto-Germanic *sumpaz. Meaning "pit to collect water" is first found 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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