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Origin of bump

First recorded in 1560–70; imitative


bump·ing·ly, adverbun·bumped, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What else does bump mean?

Bump is an online slang term for the practice of posting filler comments to move a post to the top of a discussion thread, increasing a message or thread’s status and visibility.

Where does bump come from?

Likely emerging in the mid to late 1990s with the rise of online message boards, bump is popularly said to be a backronym for the phrase “bring up my post.” The term, however, may have also simply originated as an extension of the word bump (i.e., give something a bump, or boost).

While the first instance isn’t exactly known, the term was in practice by 1998 on Amezou World, a predecessor to the imageboard site 4chan; it incorporated bumping into its message-sharing platform. A StraightDope message board titled “Bumping Threads” dates back to 2000, confirming that users were familiar with the term by the turn of the century.

Anyone participating in an online discussion forum can bump, and bumping can be useful if a post hasn’t received an answer as a thread becomes buried by newer posts. Writing a one-word bump like “Anyone?” can revive the thread and elicit prompt responses.

Overuse of the practice, especially for mere self-promotion, is considered obnoxious and can sometimes be called spamming. Some forums limit or even prohibit thread-bumping for this reason.

How is bump used in real life?

Bump is used colloquially in online message boards and discussion forums. The term can refer to an instance of bumping (a bump) or the action itself (to bump a post). As the practice has become more widespread and common, sometimes the word bump is typed as the very filler word used to bump a post. Some users post image macros (e.g., Super Mario bumping a brick) as a clever or creative accompaniment to their bump message.

Bumping is also sometimes referred to as thread-bumping or bump post. Necro-bumping, also called necro-posting, is the practice of bumping a “dead” (necro) thread. Forum etiquette especially frowns upon this.

Internet bumping is not to be confused with the many other slang senses of bump, including “a hit or dose of drug,” “sexual intercourse,” “a woman’s breast”, “a woman’s abdomen when she is first showing pregnancy,” and “to murder someone.”

More examples of bump:

“What is the etiquette for thread bumping here? There are a couple of threads I find interesting that seemed to have died, and i’d [sic] like to bump ’em up in hopes of getting responses.”
—Larry Borgia, StraightDope, 2000


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

How to use bump in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bump

/ (bʌmp) /


Word Origin for bump

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with bump


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