[ buhmp ]
See synonyms for: bumpbumpedbumps on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
  1. to come more or less violently in contact with; collide with; strike: His car bumped a truck.

  2. to cause to strike or collide: He bumped the car against a tree.

  1. to dislodge or displace by the force of collision.

  2. to dislodge by appropriating the privileges of: The airline bumped me from the flight.

  3. to demote or dismiss: He was bumped from his job.

  4. to force upward; raise: Demand from abroad bumped the price of corn.

  5. to move to a new position: We had to bump your story to next week's paper.

  6. 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.

verb (used without object)
  1. to come in contact or collide with (often followed by against or into): She bumped into me.

  2. to bounce along; proceed in a series of jolts: The old car bumped down the road.

  1. 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).

  2. to boil with violent jolts caused by the sudden eruption of large bubbles through the surface.

  1. an act or instance of bumping; collision; blow.

  2. the shock of a blow or collision.

  1. a swelling or contusion from a blow.

  2. a small area raised above the level of the surrounding surface; protuberance: He tripped over a bump on the sidewalk.

  3. Informal. a promotion or demotion; transfer to a higher or lower level: He got a bump to vice president of the company.

  4. Informal. an increase in amount, especially of salary or a wager: He asked the boss for a ten-dollar bump.

  5. Aeronautics. a rapidly rising current of air that gives an airplane a severe upward thrust.

  6. 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).

  7. Mining. crump (def. 6).

  8. Television. bumper1 (def. 9a).

Verb Phrases
  1. bump into, Informal. to meet by chance: I bumped into an old friend yesterday.

  2. 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

Other words from bump

  • bump·ing·ly, adverb
  • un·bumped, adjective

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

How to use bump in a sentence

  • Bumping into migrants in the desert who are thirsty, hungry, and injured has opened his “whole humanitarian side.”

    Arizona's White Supremacist Problem | Terry Greene Sterling | July 23, 2010 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • 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
  • Bumping along, Tom increased the speed, with Jack waiting in more or less suspense to ascertain what the outcome would be.

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

    Rowing | Rudolf Chambers Lehmann
  • “Bumping” is common in open boiling when the liquid is free from air bubbles and the interior of the vessel is very smooth.

British Dictionary definitions for bump


/ (bʌmp) /

  1. (when intr , usually foll by against or into) to knock or strike with a jolt

  2. (intr often foll by along) to travel or proceed in jerks and jolts

  1. (tr) to hurt by knocking: he bumped his head on the ceiling

  2. (tr) to knock out of place; dislodge: the crash bumped him from his chair

  3. (tr) British to throw (a child) into the air, one other child holding each limb, and let him down again to touch the ground

  4. (in rowing races, esp at Oxford and Cambridge) to catch up with and touch (another boat that started a fixed distance ahead)

  5. cricket to bowl (a ball) so that it bounces high on pitching or (of a ball) to bounce high when bowled

  6. (intr) mainly US and Canadian to dance erotically by thrusting the pelvis forward (esp in the phrase bump and grind)

  7. (tr) poker to raise (someone)

  8. (tr) informal to exclude a ticket-holding passenger from a flight as a result of overbooking

  9. (tr) informal to displace (someone or something) from a previously allocated position: the story was bumped from the front page

  10. bump uglies US slang to have sexual intercourse

  1. an impact; knock; jolt; collision

  2. a dull thud or other noise from an impact or collision

  1. the shock of a blow or collision

  2. a lump on the body caused by a blow

  3. a protuberance, as on a road surface

  4. any of the natural protuberances of the human skull, said by phrenologists to indicate underlying faculties and character

  5. a rising current of air that gives an aircraft a severe upward jolt

  6. (plural) the act of bumping a child. See sense 5

  7. rowing the act of bumping: See bumping race

  8. bump ball cricket a ball that bounces into the air after being hit directly into the ground by the batsman

Origin of 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


In addition to the idioms beginning with bump

  • bump into
  • bump off
  • bump up

also see:

  • goose pimples (bumps)
  • like a bump on a log

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