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

  • transitive v. To strike or collide with.
  • transitive v. To cause to knock against an obstacle.
  • transitive v. To knock to a new position; shift: bumped the crate out of the way.
  • transitive v. To shake up and down; jolt: bumped the child on her knee; was bumped about on a rough flight.
  • transitive v. To displace from a position within a group or organization.
  • transitive v. To deprive (a passenger) of a reserved seat because of overbooking.
  • transitive v. To raise; boost: bump up the price of gasoline.
  • transitive v. Sports To pass (a volleyball) by redirecting it with the forearms.
  • intransitive v. To hit or knock against something.
  • intransitive v. To proceed with jerks and jolts: bumped along slowly over the rocky terrain.
  • intransitive v. Sports To bump a volleyball.
  • n. A blow, collision, or jolt.
  • n. The sound of something bumping: heard a loud bump in the dark.
  • n. A raised or rounded spot; a bulge.
  • n. A slight swelling or lump.
  • n. Something, such as unevenness or a hole in a road, that causes a bump.
  • n. A rise or increase, as in prices or enrollment.
  • n. One of the natural protuberances on the human skull, considered to have significance in phrenology.
  • n. A forward thrust of the pelvis, as in a burlesque striptease.
  • n. Sports A pass in volleyball made by redirecting the ball with the inside of the forearms, especially when extended and held together.
  • n. Slang A shot of hard liquor, sometimes accompanied by a beer chaser.
  • bump into To meet by chance: I often bump into him at the supermarket.
  • bump off Slang To murder.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A light blow or jolting collision.
  • n. The sound of such a collision.
  • n. A protuberance on a level surface.
  • n. A swelling on the skin caused by illness or injury.
  • n. The point, in a race in which boats are spaced apart at the start, at which a boat begins to overtake the boat ahead.
  • n. The swollen abdomen of a pregnant woman.
  • n. A post in an Internet forum thread made in order to raise the thread's profile by returning it to the top of the list of active threads.
  • n. A temporary increase in a quantity, as shown in a graph.
  • n. A dose of a drug such as ketamine or cocaine, when snorted recreationally.
  • n. The noise made by the bittern; a boom.
  • v. To knock against or run into with a jolt.
  • v. To post in an Internet forum thread in order to raise the thread's profile by returning it to the top of the list of active threads.
  • v. To suddenly boil, causing movement of the vessel and loss of liquid.
  • v. To move (a booked passenger) to a later flight because of earlier delays or cancellations.
  • v. To move the time of a scheduled event.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make a loud, heavy, or hollow noise, as the bittern; boom.
  • 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.
  • n. A booming, hollow noise.
  • n. A shock from a collision, such as from the jolting of a vehicle.
  • n. In English boat-racing, the striking of one boat by the prow of another following her. See bump, transitive verb, 2.
  • n. A swelling or protuberance, especially one caused by a blow.
  • n. 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.
  • n. The corner of the stock of a gun at the top of the heel-plate.
  • n. A material used for coarse sheets.
  • n. In London, a sort of matting used for covering floors.
  • n. In cricket, the act of rising higher than usual from the pitch after being bowled: said of the ball.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. come upon, as if by accident; meet with
  • v. assign to a lower position; reduce in rank
  • n. an impact (as from a collision)
  • v. dance erotically or dance with the pelvis thrust forward
  • v. knock against with force or violence
  • v. remove or force from a position of dwelling previously occupied
  • n. something that bulges out or is protuberant or projects from its surroundings
  • n. a lump on the body caused by a blow


(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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. (Wiktionary)


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  • 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

  • Probably an echoic for hitting

    August 2, 2007