[ buhm ]
See synonyms for: bumbummedbummerbummest on Thesaurus.com

  1. a person who avoids work and sponges on others; loafer; idler.

  2. a tramp, hobo, or derelict.

  1. Informal. an enthusiast of a specific sport or recreational activity, especially one who gives it priority over work, family life, etc.: a ski bum; a tennis bum.

  2. Informal. an incompetent person.

  3. a drunken orgy; debauch.

verb (used with object),bummed, bum·ming.
  1. Informal. to borrow without expectation of returning; get for nothing; cadge: He's always bumming cigarettes from me.

  2. Slang. to ruin or spoil: The weather bummed our whole weekend.

verb (used without object),bummed, bum·ming.
  1. to sponge on others for a living; lead an idle or dissolute life.

  2. to live as a hobo.

adjective,bum·mer, bum·mest.
  1. Slang. of poor, wretched, or miserable quality; unsatisfactory: I figured $300 was a bum deal for a minor repair, but I paid it anyway.

  2. Slang. fraudulent or fake: He was accused of issuing a bum check for $2920.

  1. Slang. erroneous or ill-advised; misleading: I think the gauge is giving me a bum readout.

  2. Slang. physically disabled, impaired, or injured: a bum leg.

Verb Phrases
  1. bum around, Informal. to travel, wander, or spend one's time aimlessly: We bummed around for a couple of hours after work.

Idioms about bum

  1. bum (someone) out, Slang. to disappoint, upset, or annoy: It really bummed me out that she could have helped and didn't.

  2. on the bum, Informal.

    • living or traveling as or in a manner suggesting that of a hobo or tramp.

    • in a state of disrepair or disorder: The oven is on the bum again.

Origin of bum

An Americanism first recorded in 1860–65; perhaps a shortening of or back formation from bummer1; adjective senses of unclear relation to sense “loafer” and perhaps of distinct origin

Other words for bum

Words Nearby bum

Other definitions for bum (2 of 2)

[ buhm ]

nounChiefly British Slang.
  1. the buttocks; rump.

Origin of bum

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English bom; of uncertain origin

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use bum in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bum (1 of 2)


/ (bʌm) /

  1. British slang the buttocks or anus

Origin of bum

C14: of uncertain origin

British Dictionary definitions for bum (2 of 2)


/ (bʌm) informal /

  1. a disreputable loafer or idler

  2. a tramp; hobo

  1. an irresponsible, unpleasant, or mean person

  2. a person who spends a great deal of time on a specified sport: baseball bum

  3. on the bum

    • living as a loafer or vagrant

    • out of repair; broken

verbbums, bumming or bummed
  1. (tr) to get by begging; cadge: to bum a lift

  2. (intr often foll by around) to live by begging or as a vagrant or loafer

  1. (intr usually foll by around) to spend time to no good purpose; loaf; idle

  2. bum someone off US and Canadian slang to disappoint, annoy, or upset someone

  1. (prenominal) of poor quality; useless

  2. wrong or inappropriate: a bum note

Origin of bum

C19: probably shortened from earlier bummer a loafer, probably from German bummeln to loaf

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with bum


In addition to the idioms beginning with bum

  • bum around
  • bum out
  • bum rap
  • bum steer

also see:

  • on the blink (bum)

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.