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

  • noun Pamphlets, forms, memorandums, or similar printed matter, especially when considered uninteresting or unimportant.
  • noun Toilet paper.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun UK, obsolete Toilet paper.
  • noun Useless papers; now especially official documents, standardized forms, sales and marketing print material etc.

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

  • noun reading materials (documents, written information) that you must read and deal with but that you think are extremely boring


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

[Short for bum fodder : bum + fodder.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Shortened form of bumfodder.



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  • See also bumpf.

    January 5, 2008

  • Bumf: That portion of the enormous mass of official correspondence which was used for a more undignified purpose than originally intended. Later applied more generally to correspondence and literature of little value.

    This was an abbreviation of ‘bumfodder’ current from 1889 as schoolboys’ slang for ‘toilet paper’. In the war it was applied to official correspondence, most of which was viewed as unnecessary. It has acquired general currency for paperwork since World War I. Also spelt ‘bumph’.

    April 15, 2008

  • "'Here,' he'd said, appearing abruptly out of the dressing room with guitar and drum. He'd handed her a small brown envelope. 'I found these, going through my dad's old bumf in Inverness. I thought you'd maybe want them.'"

    —Diana Gabaldon, Drums of Autumn (NY: Dell, 1997), 78

    January 17, 2010

  • Bumf is not a word we encounter often here in the non-penal colonies. I like it. I like it’s sound, it’s provenance, its two meanings and all three of its spellings.

    I nominate the “bumf” spelling as the one that is most fitting to mean wasteful documentation:

    The efficiency expert's on the prowl

    I dread his eyes and fear his scowl,

    And cry of triumph

    At finding my bumf -

    That job-killing barbaric howl.

    See more at bumpf.

    May 23, 2014