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bum1

[buhm]
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noun
  1. a person who avoids work and sponges on others; loafer; idler.
  2. a tramp, hobo, or derelict.
  3. 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.
  4. Informal. an incompetent person.
  5. a drunken orgy; debauch.
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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.
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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.
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adjective, bum·mer, bum·mest. Slang.
  1. of poor, wretched, or miserable quality; worthless.
  2. disappointing; unpleasant.
  3. erroneous or ill-advised; misleading: That tip on the stock market was a bum steer.
  4. lame: a bum leg.
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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.
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Idioms
  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.
    1. living or traveling as or in a manner suggesting that of a hobo or tramp.
    2. in a state of disrepair or disorder: The oven is on the bum again.
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Origin of bum1

1860–65, Americanism; perhaps shortening of or back formation from bummer1; adj. senses of unclear relation to sense “loafer” and perhaps of distinct orig.

Synonyms

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bum2

[buhm]
noun Chiefly British Slang.
  1. the buttocks; rump.
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Origin of bum2

1350–1400; Middle English bom; of uncertain origin

bum3

[buhm]
noun Military Slang.
  1. a reproduction of a document made with copying equipment.
  2. a bag into which classified waste is put in preparation for destruction.
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Origin of bum3

perhaps as shortening of bumf or bumfodder; def. 2 presumably as shortening of bum bag
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

derelictstiffvagrantdriftertramptransientvagabondhoboguttersnipefloaterbindle

Examples from the Web for bum

Historical Examples


British Dictionary definitions for bum

bum1

noun
  1. British slang the buttocks or anus
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Word Origin

C14: of uncertain origin

bum2

noun
  1. a disreputable loafer or idler
  2. a tramp; hobo
  3. an irresponsible, unpleasant, or mean person
  4. a person who spends a great deal of time on a specified sportbaseball bum
  5. on the bum
    1. living as a loafer or vagrant
    2. out of repair; broken
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verb bums, bumming or bummed
  1. (tr) to get by begging; cadgeto bum a lift
  2. (intr often foll by around) to live by begging or as a vagrant or loafer
  3. (intr usually foll by around) to spend time to no good purpose; loaf; idle
  4. bum someone off US and Canadian slang to disappoint, annoy, or upset someone
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adjective
  1. (prenominal) of poor quality; useless
  2. wrong or inappropriatea bum note
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Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for bum

n.1

"buttocks," late 14c., "probably onomatopœic, to be compared with other words of similar sound and with the general sense of 'protuberance, swelling.' " [OED]

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n.2

"dissolute loafer, tramp," 1864, American English, from bummer "loafer, idle person" (1855), probably from German slang bummler "loafer," from bummeln "go slowly, waste time." Bum first appears in a German-American context, and bummer was popular in the slang of the North's army in the American Civil War (as many as 216,000 German immigrants in the ranks). Bum's rush "forcible ejection" first recorded 1910.

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v.

1863, "to loaf and beg," American English, a word from the Civil War, perhaps a back-formation from bummer "loafer," or from bum (n.). Meaning "to feel depressed" is from 1973, perhaps from bummer in the "bad experience" sense. Related: Bummed; bumming.

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adj.

"of poor quality," 1859, American English, from bum (n.). Bum steer in figurative sense of "bad advice" attested from 1901.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with bum

bum

In addition to the idioms beginning with bum

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

also see:

  • on the blink (bum)
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.