a depressed state of mind (usually preceded by in the): to be in the dumps over money problems.

Origin of dumps

1515–25; compare German dumpf dull, Middle Dutch domp haze



verb (used with object)

to drop or let fall in a mass; fling down or drop heavily or suddenly: Dump the topsoil here.
to empty out, as from a container, by tilting or overturning.
to unload or empty out (a container), as by tilting or overturning.
to be dismissed, fired, or released from a contract: The first baseman was dumped from the team after hitting .210 for the first half of the season.
to transfer or rid oneself of suddenly and irresponsibly: Don't dump your troubles on me!
Boxing Slang.
  1. to knock down: The champion was dumped twice but won the fight.
  2. to lose (a match) intentionally: a bribe to dump a fight.
  1. to put (goods or securities) on the market in large quantities and at a low price without regard to the effect on market conditions.
  2. to sell (goods) into foreign markets below cost in order to promote exports or damage foreign competition.
Computers. to print, display, or record on an output medium (the contents of a computer's internal storage or the contents of a file), often at the time a program fails.
Slang. to kill; murder: threats to dump him if he didn't pay up.

verb (used without object)

to fall or drop down suddenly.
to throw away or discard garbage, refuse, etc.
  1. to offer goods for sale in large quantities at a low price.
  2. to dump below-cost goods into foreign markets.
to release contents: a sewage pipe that dumps in the ocean.
Slang. to complain, criticize, gossip, or tell another person one's problems: He calls me up just to dump.
Slang: Vulgar. to defecate.


an accumulation of discarded garbage, refuse, etc.
Also called dumpsite, dumping-ground. a place where garbage, refuse, etc., is deposited.
  1. a collection of ammunition, stores, etc., deposited at some point, as near a battlefront, for distribution.
  2. the ammunition, stores, etc., so deposited.
the act of dumping.
  1. a runway or embankment equipped with tripping devices, from which low-grade ore, rock, etc., are dumped.
  2. the pile of ore so dumped.
Informal. a place, house, or town that is dilapidated, dirty, or disreputable.
(in merchandising) a bin or specially made carton in which items are displayed for sale: Fifty copies of the best-selling paperback novel were in a dump near the checkout counter.
Computers. a copy of the contents of a computer's internal storage or of the contents of a file at a given instant, that is printed, displayed, or stored on an output medium.


    dump on (someone), Informal.
    1. to attack with verbal abuse; criticize harshly: Reporters never tired of dumping on certain public figures.
    2. to unload one's problems onto (another person): You never phone me without dumping on me.

Origin of dump

1250–1300; Middle English (in sense “to fall suddenly”) < Old Norse dumpa strike, bump; modern senses as transitive v. and noun (not known before 19th cent.) perhaps < another source, or independent expressive formation
Related formsdump·er, nounun·dumped, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dumps

Contemporary Examples of dumps

Historical Examples of dumps

  • You needn't get into the dumps because you've failed to make good as a journalist.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • That funny dog, Loubet, he was the man to cure one of the dumps if anybody could!

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • The patients like me, and they don't die of the dumps when I am about.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • You see, he had so many years of being one of the Dumps to make up for!

  • What mattered it to me now, this babble of dumps and dust, of claims and clean-ups?

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service

British Dictionary definitions for dumps


pl n

informal a state of melancholy or depression (esp in the phrase down in the dumps)

Word Origin for dumps

C16: probably from Middle Dutch domp haze, mist; see damp




to drop, fall, or let fall heavily or in a mass
(tr) to empty (objects or material) out of a container
to unload, empty, or make empty (a container), as by tilting or overturning
(tr) informal to dispose of
(tr) to dispose of (waste, esp radioactive nuclear waste) in the sea or on land
  1. to market (goods) in bulk and at low prices
  2. to offer for sale large quantities of (goods) on foreign markets at low prices in order to maintain a high price in the home market and obtain a share of the foreign markets
(tr) to store (supplies, arms, etc) temporarily
(intr) slang, mainly US to defecate
(tr) surfing (of a wave) to hurl a swimmer or surfer down
(tr) Australian and NZ to compact (bales of wool) by hydraulic pressure
(tr) computing to record (the contents of part or all of the memory) on a storage device, such as magnetic tape, at a series of points during a computer run


  1. a place or area where waste materials are dumped
  2. (in combination)rubbish dump
a pile or accumulation of rubbish
the act of dumping
informal a dirty or unkempt place
military a place where weapons, supplies, etc, are stored
slang, mainly US an act of defecation
See also dump on
Derived Formsdumper, noun

Word Origin for dump

C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Norwegian dumpa to fall suddenly, Middle Low German dumpeln to duck




obsolete a mournful song; lament

Word Origin for dump

C16: see damp
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 dumps

"low spirits," 1520s, plural of dumpe "a fit of musing," possibly from Dutch domp "haze, mist," from Middle Dutch damp "vapor" (see damp (n.)).



early 14c., "throw down or fall with force," perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish dumpe, Norwegian dumpa "to fall suddenly"). The sense of "unload en masse" is first recorded in American English 1784. That of "discard, abandon" is from 1919. Related: Dumped; dumping. Dump truck is from 1930.



"place where refuse is dumped," 1865, originally of mining operations, from dump (v.). Meaning "any shabby place" is from 1899. Meaning "act of defecating" is from 1942.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with dumps


see down in the dumps.

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