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

  • noun Slang One that depresses, frustrates, or disappoints.
  • noun Slang An adverse reaction to a hallucinogenic drug.
  • noun A loafer or idler.
  • noun A beggar.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A small truck with two low wheels and a long pole, used in skidding logs. Also called a drag-cart.
  • noun An idle, worthless fellow, especially one who sponges on others for a living; a dissolute fellow; a loafer; a tramp; in United States political slang, a low politician; a heeler; a “boy.”
  • noun During the civil war in the United States, a camp-follower or a plundering straggler.

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

  • noun Slang, U.S. An idle, worthless fellow, who is without any visible means of support; a loafer; a dissipated sponger; one who bums.
  • noun Slang, U.S. an unpleasant event, experience, or situation.

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

  • noun obsolete A forager.
  • noun US, slang, dated An idle, worthless fellow, without any visible means of support; a dissipated sponger.
  • adjective comparative form of bum: more bum
  • noun UK, slang, uncommon homosexual male
  • noun A disappointment, a pity, a shame.
  • interjection Exclamation of annoyance or frustration at a bummer (disappointment).

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

  • noun an experience that is irritating or frustrating or disappointing
  • noun a bad reaction to a hallucinogenic drug


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

[From bum, adj.. Sense 3, probably from German Bummler, loafer, from bummeln, to loaf.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From German Bummler ("loafer"), from bummeln ("loaf").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From bum + -er ("comparative forming").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From bum ("buttocks") + -er ("agency forming").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From bum + -er ("agency forming").


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  • Lee said the theater will lose on the deal if it gets what he calls bummer movies.

    Berks county news 2009

  • It was devoid of punditry, the real bummer is listening to commentary while an historic event is proceeding before our eyes.

    Matthew Yglesias » Disrespect 2009

  • The only bummer is that my favorite song of theirs -

    EGC Clambake for February 1, 2007 2002

  • Bum, coming by way of an earlier bummer from the German bummler, becomes noun, adjective, verb and adverb.

    Chapter 1. Introductory. 5. The General Character of American English Henry Louis 1921

  • An absolute 'bummer' - but the reality that I've had to face.

    Facing Facts Glyn Davies 2007

  • An absolute 'bummer' - but the reality that I've had to face.

    Archive 2007-07-01 Glyn Davies 2007

  • But with Sandy Graff it was different; he belonged identically to the place, and all the town knew him, the sinister tragedy of his history, and all the why and wherefore that led to his becoming the poor miserable drunken outcast -- the town "bummer" -- that he was.

    Shapes that Haunt the Dusk Henry Mills Alden 1877

  • The thing that dismayed me was, the rest of the players, the ones getting drunk, were mostly lawyers and other A-types whose natural inclination is to design rules for everyone, so the bummer was the person least likely to insist on rules was the one demanding them.

    "Woke up from dream I was starring in reality TV game show with ambiguous rules that I could not figure out." Ann Althouse 2009

  • This is what we used to call a bummer, back in the Early Days The old man in the truck stared down at me in slow alarm.

    A Daemon at Oxford Hampshire, Stuart 1978

  • Regardless of cost, the bummer is the realization that this is a vehicle that was designed to fit the congested, exurban, 90 percent of drivers travel less than 50 miles per day world that we live in today, rather than the "go west young man" America that built it. 2011


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  • "We visited many fishing villages clinging like treacle to the wave-battered cliffs of the Avalon Peninsula and examined a multitude of vessels ranging from small and ancient 'bully boats' to a venerable two-hundred-ton, three-masted schooner. Most were no longer seaworthy, but eventually we found a small schooner of a kind known as a Southern Shore bummer hauled out at the little outport of Admiral's Cove, not far from Fermeuse."

    --Farley Mowat, Bay of Spirits, NY: Carroll and Graf, 2006.

    December 19, 2007

  • "When sound and fury is substituted for useful endeavour, it becomes known as bumming, so that the big-high-heid-yin in, say, a factory, or a company spokesman, might be dismissively referred to as 'the heid bummer'. Ther term is also used of those who make speeches at functions, which others have laboured long and hard to organise, while the orator gets the accolades. It became synonymous with pomposity and bombast. Someone praising his own product, venture, talents or achievements was said to be 'bummin his load' or 'bummin it up', a process we might style today as hyping. Anyway, one given to such behaviour might simply be regarded as a bummer, bummler or bum, 'better at the promise than the performance'."

    - 'Speaking Scots', John MacLeay in The Scots Magazine, Sep 2001.

    February 1, 2008

  • Mr. Jukes, who had been scanning the shore through a pair of glasses, informed the chief engineer afterwards that "our late second mate hasn't been long in finding a friend. A chap looking uncommonly like a bummer. I saw them walk away together from the quay."

    - Conrad, Typhoon

    March 27, 2008