• 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

Examples from the Web for clumpy

Historical Examples of clumpy

  • Their clumpy heads blend ill with the spiry tops of the juniors.

    Woodland Gleanings

    Charles Tilt

  • This causes it to be clumpy — that is, not straight like most wild roots.

    Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants

    A. R. (Arthur Robert) Harding

  • The lips and cheeks bristled with that kind of hard, clumpy beard which old priests have who have always shaved themselves.


    J. K. Huysmans

British Dictionary definitions for clumpy


  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 for clump

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 clumpy


1820, from clump (n.) + -y (2). Also noted 1881 in an Isle of Wight glossary as a noun meaning "a stupid fellow." Related: Clumpily; clumpiness. Cf. also clumperton "clown, clodhopper" (1530s).

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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