a pit, well, or the like in which water or other liquid is collected.
Machinery. a chamber at the bottom of a machine, pump, circulation system, etc., into which a fluid drains before recirculation or in which wastes gather before disposal.
  1. a space where water is allowed to collect at the bottom of a shaft or below a passageway.
  2. a pilot shaft or tunnel pushed out in front of a main bore.
British. crankcase.
British Dialect. a swamp, bog, or muddy pool.

Origin of sump

1375–1425; late Middle English sompe < Middle Low German or Middle Dutch sump; cognate with German Sumpf; akin to swamp Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sump

Contemporary Examples of sump

Historical Examples of sump

  • Because, as he was prone to admit to himself, "dey was sump'in' in de unnerstannin'."

    The heart of happy hollow

    Paul Laurence Dunbar

  • A manhole had to be put in the top and a sump in the bottom.

    Concrete Construction

    Halbert P. Gillette

  • It may have been on the office sofa or it may have been in the sump.

  • But lemme tell ye, thar was more'n sump'n to eat in that bag!

  • We've got a good quarter-mile of deep rock for the sump hole.

British Dictionary definitions for sump



a receptacle, such as the lower part of the crankcase of an internal-combustion engine, into which liquids, esp lubricants, can drain to form a reservoir
another name for cesspool
  1. a depression at the bottom of a shaft where water collects before it is pumped away
  2. the front portion of a shaft or tunnel, ahead of the main bore
British dialect a muddy pool or swamp

Word Origin for sump

C17: from Middle Dutch somp marsh; see swamp
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 sump

early 15c., "marsh, morass," from Middle Dutch somp or Middle Low German sump, from Proto-Germanic *sumpaz. Meaning "pit to collect water" is first found 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper