from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To strike or collide with.
  • intransitive verb To cause to knock against an obstacle.
  • intransitive verb To knock to a new position; shift.
  • intransitive verb To shake up and down; jolt.
  • intransitive verb To displace from a position within a group or organization.
  • intransitive verb To deprive (a passenger) of a reserved seat because of overbooking.
  • intransitive verb To raise; boost.
  • intransitive verb Sports To pass (a volleyball) by redirecting it with the forearms.
  • intransitive verb To hit or knock against something.
  • intransitive verb To proceed with jerks and jolts.
  • intransitive verb Sports To bump a volleyball.
  • noun A blow, collision, or jolt.
  • noun The sound of something bumping.
  • noun A raised or rounded spot; a bulge.
  • noun A slight swelling or lump.
  • noun A rise or increase, as in prices or enrollment.
  • noun A forward thrust of the pelvis, as in a burlesque striptease.
  • noun Sports A pass in volleyball made by redirecting the ball with the inside of the forearms, especially when extended and held together.
  • noun Slang A shot of hard liquor, sometimes accompanied by a beer chaser.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make a loud, heavy, or hollow noise, as the bittern; boom.
  • noun A booming, hollow noise.
  • To cause to come in violent contact; bring into concussion; knock; strike; thump: as, to bump one's head against a wall.
  • In English boat-racing, to touch (the stern of a boat ahead) with the bow of the following boat. See extract.
  • To come forcibly in contact with something; strike heavily: as, the vessel bumped against the wharf.
  • To ride without rising in the stirrups on a rough-trotting horse.
  • In chem., to give off vapor intermittently and with almost explosive violence, as some heated solutions.
  • To form bumps or protuberances.
  • noun In cricket, the act of rising higher than usual from the pitch after being bowled: said of the ball.
  • noun A material used for coarse sheets.
  • noun In London, a sort of matting used for covering floors.
  • noun A shock from a collision, such as from the jolting of a vehicle.
  • noun In English boat-racing, the striking of one boat by the prow of another following her. See bump, transitive verb, 2.
  • noun A swelling or protuberance, especially one caused by a blow.
  • noun Specifically The popular designation of the natural protuberances on the surface of the skull or cranium, which phrenologists associate with distinct qualities, affections, propensities, etc., of the mind: used ironically for the word organ employed by phrenologists: as, the bump of veneration, acquisitiveness, etc.
  • noun The corner of the stock of a gun at the top of the heel-plate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To strike, as with or against anything large or solid; to thump.
  • intransitive verb To come in violent contact with something; to thump.
  • noun The noise made by the bittern.
  • intransitive verb To make a loud, heavy, or hollow noise, as the bittern; to boom.
  • noun A thump; a heavy blow.
  • noun A swelling or prominence, resulting from a bump or blow; a protuberance.
  • noun (Phren.), colloq. One of the protuberances on the cranium which are associated with distinct faculties or affections of the mind
  • noun engraving The act of striking the stern of the boat in advance with the prow of the boat following.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Early Modern English bump ("a shock, blow from a collision", also "to make a heavy, hollow sound, boom"), probably of North Germanic origin. Compare Danish bump ("a thump"), Danish bumpe ("to thump"), Old Danish bumpe ("to strike with a clenched fist"). Apparently related to Middle English bumben, bummen ("to make a hollow noise"), Dutch bommen ("to hum, buzz"), German bummen ("to hum, buzz"), Icelandic bumba ("drum"), probably of imitative origin. More at bum, bumble. Compare also bomb.


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  • Probably an echoic for hitting

    August 2, 2007

  • In message boards and the like, bumping is the act of posting to push a particular thread to the top of the active list.

    Some say it means "Bring Up My Post" but that's a backronym.

    December 13, 2007