1. a piece or mass of solid matter without regular shape or of no particular shape: a lump of coal.
  2. a protuberance or swelling: a blow that raised a lump on his head.
  3. an aggregation, collection, or mass; clump: All the articles were piled in a great lump.
  4. Also called lump of sugar. a small block of granulated sugar, designed for sweetening hot coffee, tea, etc.: How many lumps do you take in your coffee?
  5. majority; plurality; multitude: The great lump of voters are still undecided.
  6. lumps, Informal. harsh criticism, punishment, or defeat: The new theory came in for some lumps when other scholars heard of it.
  7. Informal. a heavy, clumsy, and usually stupid person.
  1. in the form of a lump or lumps: lump sugar.
  2. made up of a number of items taken together; not separated or considered separately: The debts were paid in one lump sum.
verb (used with object)
  1. to unite into one aggregation, collection, or mass (often followed by together): We lumped the reds and blues together.
  2. to deal with, handle, consider, etc., in the lump or mass: to lump unrelated matters indiscriminately.
  3. to make into a lump or lumps: to lump dough before shaping it into loaves.
  4. to raise into or cover with lumps: a plow lumping the moist earth.
verb (used without object)
  1. to form or raise a lump or lumps: Stir the gravy so that it doesn't lump.
  2. to move heavily and awkwardly: The big oaf lumped along beside me.
  1. get/take one's lumps, to receive or endure hardship, punishment, criticism, etc.: Without its star pitcher, the baseball team will get its lumps today.

Origin of lump

1250–1300; Middle English lumpe, lomp(e); cognate with early Dutch lompe piece, Danish lump(e) lump, dialectal Norwegian lump block
Related formslump·ing·ly, adverb


verb (used with object) Informal.
  1. to put up with; resign oneself to; accept and endure: If you don't like it, you can lump it.

Origin of lump

1785–95; Americanism; perhaps identical with British dialect lump to look sullen, of expressive orig. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lumping

Contemporary Examples of lumping

Historical Examples of lumping

  • Often a little cornstarch is mixed with powdered sugar to keep it from lumping.

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne

  • Yet had he not cursed the baby, lumping him among the Kittredges?

    His "Day In Court"

    Charles Egbert Craddock (AKA Mary Noailles Murfree)

  • Oh, that was for the House balls—oh, but we are lumping the two together.

  • You get to thinking of them in general, lumping them as 'humanity.'

    East Angels

    Constance Fenimore Woolson

  • She did not believe in lumping big stuff together like that.

    The Quirt

    B.M. Bower

British Dictionary definitions for lumping


  1. a small solid mass without definite shape
  2. pathol any small swelling or tumour
  3. a collection of things; aggregate
  4. informal an awkward, heavy, or stupid person
  5. (plural) US informal punishment, defeat, or reverseshe took his lumps
  6. the lump British
    1. self-employed workers in the building trade considered collectively, esp with reference to tax and national insurance evasion
    2. (as modifier)lump labour
  7. (modifier) in the form of a lump or lumpslump sugar
  8. a lump in one's throat a tight dry feeling in one's throat, usually caused by great emotion
  1. (tr often foll by together) to collect into a mass or group
  2. (intr) to grow into lumps or become lumpy
  3. (tr) to consider as a single group, often without justification
  4. (tr) to make or cause lumps in or on
  5. (intr often foll by along) to move or proceed in a heavy manner

Word Origin for lump

C13: probably related to early Dutch lompe piece, Scandinavian dialect lump block, Middle High German lumpe rag


  1. (tr) informal to tolerate or put up with; endure (in the phrase lump it)

Word Origin for lump

C16: origin uncertain
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 lumping



early 14c., lumpe (1224 as surname), probably in Old English, perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. cognate Danish lumpe, 16c.), of unknown origin. Cf. also Middle High German lumpe, early modern Dutch lompe. Phrase lump in (one's) throat "feeling of tightness brought on by emotion" is from 1803. Lumps "hard knocks, a beating" is colloquial, from 1934. Lump sum, one covering a number of items, is from 1867.



"endure" (now usually in contrast to like), 1791, apparently an extended sense from an older meaning "to look sulky, dislike" (1570s), of unknown origin, perhaps a symbolic sound (cf. grump, harumph, etc.). Related: Lumped; lumping.

LUMPING. Great. A lumping pennyworth; a great qualtity for the money, a bargain. He has got a lumping pennyworth; frequently said of a man who marries a fat woman. ["Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence," London, 1811]



early 15c., "to curl up in a ball, to gather into a lump" (implied in lumped), from lump (n.). Meaning "to put together in one mass or group" is from 1620s. Related: Lumped; lumping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with lumping


In addition to the idiom beginning with lump

  • lump in one's throat

also see:

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