[ stuhmp ]
/ stʌmp /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: stump / stumped / stumping on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
to walk heavily or clumsily, as if with a wooden leg: The captain stumped across the deck.
to make political campaign speeches; electioneer.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Idioms about stump

    up a stump, Informal. at a loss; embarrassed; perplexed: Sociologists are up a stump over the sharp rise in juvenile delinquency and crime.

Origin of stump

1200–50; (noun) Middle English stompe, cognate with or <Middle Low German stump(e), Middle Dutch stomp (compare German Stumpf); (v.) Middle English stumpen to stumble (as over a stump), derivative of the noun


stumpless, adjectivestumplike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does stump mean?

A stump is the base of a tree after the rest of the trunk has been cut down.

In general, stump can refer to what’s left of something after the main part or majority of it has been cut off or removed. The word stub means the same thing and is perhaps more commonly used.

When a person has had part of a limb removed, the remaining part is sometimes called a stump. A more technical term is residual limb. The word stump is also sometimes used to refer to a limb that has not fully developed. Though some people with limb differences may use the word stump to refer to their limb, others might find the word insensitive or offensive. In many cases, they may prefer for it to simply be called an arm, leg, or limb.

An artificial leg can also sometimes be called a stump. The word stumps is sometimes used as a slang term for the legs.

The word stump can refer to a platform for making speeches. This use isn’t common, but this sense of the word is commonly used in a figurative way to refer to the place where political campaign speeches are made, especially in the phrase on the stump, as in The senator went out on the stump to try to win re-election. A campaign speech can be called a stump speech. Stump can also be used as a verb meaning to campaign, as in He’s stumping in Iowa today or He has endorsed the senator and will be stumping for her.

As a verb, stump can also mean to confuse, puzzle, or perplex completely, as in The last question on the test really stumped me. When you are stumped in this way, you are usually at a loss—you don’t know the right answer and you might not even have a guess. Someone who is experiencing this puzzlement can be described as stumped. A question or problem that stumps can be called a stumper.

Example: The woodcutters chopped down all of the trees, leaving nothing but a field of stumps.

Where does stump come from?

The first records of the word stump come from the 1200s. The noun comes from the Middle Low German stump. The verb form comes from the Middle English stumpen, which means “to stumble (as over a tree stump)” and was derived from the noun.

While tree stumps are likely the first kind of stumps that come to mind, many other objects can be turned into stumps, such as nails, pencils, and erasers.

When used as a verb, stump usually means to confuse someone so badly that they can’t think of a single answer or solution. In everyday life, people are often stumped by difficult puzzles or complicated situations that may not even be possible to solve.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to stump?

What are some synonyms for stump?

What are some words that share a root or word element with stump

What are some words that often get used in discussing stump?


How is stump used in real life?

Stump most commonly refers to tree stumps. As a verb, it’s typically used informally.



Try using stump!

True or False?

When you cut down a tree, the stump is the big part that was cut off.

How to use stump in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for stump

/ (stʌmp) /


Derived forms of stump

stumper, noun

Word Origin for stump

C14: from Middle Low German stump; related to Dutch stomp, German Stumpf; see stamp
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

Medical definitions for stump

[ stŭmp ]

The extremity of a limb left after amputation.
The pedicle remaining after removal of the tumor to which it was attached.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.