There are 2 definitions of bum in English:


Syllabification: bum
Pronunciation: /bəm


North American
1A vagrant.
More example sentences
  • So we dressed up for Halloween as gypsies and bums and hobos (the latter two later known as The Homeless) and other stereotypical costumes.
  • If you think about it, living life as a bum, hobo, or a transient is pretty extreme.
  • Twice in the past week I've heard a commercial on the local ‘Urban’ station (don't ask) imploring people not to ignore bums and beggars on the street.
1.1A lazy or worthless person: you ungrateful bum
More example sentences
  • But he also has the whiners, loafers, jonesers, and all of the no-good lazy bums, male and female, without a work ethic opposing his every move.
  • This multi-talented filmmaker makes jacks-of-all-trades like Robert Rodriguez and Steven Soderbergh seem like lazy bums.
  • It's just the kind of inspired power-to-the-people sensibility that can rouse some good ol'-fashioned politicking - even after the fact, you lazy bums.
2 [in combination] A person who devotes a great deal of time to a specified activity: a ski bum a poker bum
More example sentences
  • There's an awkward friction between Miller, rollicking ski bum of the people, and the exclusivity of a place like the Yellowstone Club.
  • Growling in from left is Warren Miller, the puckish godfather of extreme-ski cinema and our nation's original ski bum.
  • Today, however, closer to sea level, Burt looks pretty much like every other dirtbag ski bum in the area.

verb (bums, bumming, bummed)

Back to top  
1 [no object] Travel, with no particular purpose or destination: he bummed around Florida for a few months
More example sentences
  • Thrown out of two schools, John eventually graduated and bummed around the world with the stated ambition of ‘becoming a beggar.’
  • After college, Steve bummed around Europe on the Railpass junket for a few months.
  • Following graduation, he bummed around the world for four years.
loaf, lounge, idle, wander, drift, meander, dawdle
informal mooch, lollygag
1.1Pass one’s time idly: we spent most of the summer just bumming around
More example sentences
  • I became lazy, got into bad stuff, bummed around.
  • The city planners didn't make it a point to add any places of interest or recreation, so you either had a job or you bummed around town looking for something to do.
  • After meeting up with each other and after a sulky Tor gave Spencer his wallet back, the group bummed around the camp and then went to dinner.
2 [with object] Get by asking or begging: they tried to bum money off us
More example sentences
  • But he never stops scuffling, even when bumming a ride on the rails from Chicago to San Francisco.
  • However, within a month of bumming a ride home with Mittler Racing from a 2001 Indianapolis truck race, he was hanging around the shop, eventually being invited to turn test laps.
  • He had the nicest car of any of my friends, which was why we were always bumming rides off of him.


[attributive] Back to top  
Of poor quality; bad or wrong: not one bum note was played
More example sentences
  • It's utterly unnecessary and is the one bum note in an otherwise unusually good second outing for the characters.
  • And if you do come and see us live, sorry for the mucked up intros, the bum notes.
  • In a way it is strange to be so upset over an object, but a musical instrument is always more than just another thing, especially a well-loved guitar with a long personal history, shared bum notes and all.
crummy, rotten, pathetic, lousy, pitiful; bad, poor, second-rate, tinpot, third-rate, second-class, unsatisfactory, inadequate, unacceptable; dreadful, awful, terrible, deplorable, lamentable


mid 19th century: probably from bummer.


give someone (or get) the bum's rush

Forcibly eject someone (or be forcibly ejected) from a place or gathering.
More example sentences
  • One of my colleagues tried to get an interview with Ian earlier this week but got the bum's rush: ‘Ian's too busy shooting Casualty.’
  • Absolutely, no reason for all of us to get the bum's rush.
Abruptly dismiss someone (or be abruptly dismissed) for a poor idea or performance.
More example sentences
  • It should come as no surprise that he got the bum's rush in short order for ‘loss of trust’, neither would it surprise anyone that the MoD went on paying him £1,000 a day for some time after his sacking.
  • I agree that Crean got the bum's rush and he would have made a decent PM.
  • New Zealand's iconic five cent coin with the tuatara looks to be getting the bum's rush!

on the bum

North American Traveling with rough provisions and with no fixed home; living as a vagrant.
More example sentences
  • The post-industrial label will not only appeal to Gen Xers on the bum, it also informs them this premium malt liquor was brewed for almost an entire month.
  • His boiler it was leaking, and its drivers on the bum…

bum someone out

North American Make someone feel annoyed, upset, or disappointed: it really bummed me out when he forgot my birthday
More example sentences
  • You don't like others to control you, so when your parents give you a list of chores, it bums you out!
  • I've got to tell you something that may bum you out.
  • IHe's in a sour mood right now so I hope this doesn't bum him out too badly.

Definition of bum in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day antebellum
Pronunciation: ˌantɪˈbɛləm
occurring or existing before a particular war…

There are 2 definitions of bum in English:


Syllabification: bum
Pronunciation: /


British informal
More example sentences
  • After a couple of hours of hard work we sat in the shelter of the storage box on a bundle of wooden stakes to keep our bums from the cold wet ground, drinking lemonade and sharing a muesli bar, surveying our small slice of land.
  • My head had been cold, my bum has been cold and my feet (you've guessed it) have been cold!
  • The answer is that it is one thing to find bums for all those seats, quite another to sell the seats at profitable prices.


late Middle English: of unknown origin.

Definition of bum in: