• synonyms


  1. a small, close group or cluster, especially of trees or other plants.
  2. a lump or mass
  3. a heavy, thumping step, sound, etc.
  4. Immunology. a cluster of agglutinated bacteria, red blood cells, etc.
  5. a thick extra sole on a shoe.
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verb (used without object)
  1. Also clomp. to walk heavily and clumsily.
  2. Immunology. to gather or be gathered into clumps; agglutinate.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to gather or form into a clump; mass.
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Origin of clump

1580–90; akin to Dutch klompe lump, mass, Old English clympre lump of metal
Related formsclump·y, clump·ish, clump·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for clumping

Historical Examples

  • As she opened the squeaky screen-door he was clumping down the steps.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

  • It was as musical as the clumping of a new pair of red topped boots.

  • There was a great army of them, clumping down the road the way they do.

    Fanny Herself

    Edna Ferber

  • They heard a clumping step upon the staircase, and, when it reached the landing, it stopped at their door.

    The Lost Prince

    Frances Hodgson Burnett

  • The girl, clumping along in the boots which were much too large for her, entered a small room to one side.

British Dictionary definitions for clumping


  1. a cluster, as of trees or plants
  2. a dull heavy tread or any similar sound
  3. an irregular massa clump of hair or earth
  4. an inactive mass of microorganisms, esp a mass of bacteria produced as a result of agglutination
  5. an extra sole on a shoe
  6. slang a blow
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  1. (intr) to walk or tread heavily
  2. to gather or be gathered into clumps, clusters, clots, etc
  3. to cause (bacteria, blood cells, etc) to collect together or (of bacteria, etc) to collect together
  4. (tr) slang to punch (someone)
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Derived Formsclumpy, adjectiveclumpiness, noun

Word Origin

Old English clympe; related to Middle Dutch klampe heap of hay, Middle Low German klampe clamp ², Swedish klimp small lump
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 clumping



1580s, "lump; cluster of trees," from Middle English clompe "a lump" (c.1300), from Dutch klomp "lump, mass," or Middle Low German klumpe "clog, wooden shoe." Old English had clympre "lump, mass of metal."

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"walk heavily," 1660s, imitative. Related: Clumped; clumping.

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"to heap or gather in clumps" (transitive), 1824, from clump (n.). Related: Clumped; clumping. Intransitive sense "to form a clump or clumps" is recorded from 1896.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

clumping in Medicine


  1. The massing together of bacteria or other cells suspended in a fluid.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.