Definition of stump in English:

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Pronunciation: /stəmp/


1The bottom part of a tree left projecting from the ground after most of the trunk has fallen or been cut down.
Example sentences
  • In addition the tree covered quite a large area which, once the stump has been ground out and the soil improved, will offer an exciting opportunity for redesign and new plantings.
  • It shows a charred stump of a tree with the ground around it burnt.
  • They found large piles of sawdust and tree stumps cut to ground level.
1.1The small projecting remnant of something that has been cut or broken off or worn away: the stump of an amputated arm
More example sentences
  • Between the foc'sle store and the hold are the remnants of a mast stump, with the hole in the decking above still clearly identifiable.
  • Today 27 stones remain standing along with the stumps and fragments of another nine.
  • Elsewhere the remnants are more mundane and ambiguous, like a shattered stump of bone which may point to the giant moa.
2 Cricket Each of the three upright pieces of wood that form a wicket.
Example sentences
  • If a batsman breaks his bat when striking the ball, and a piece of the bat hits the stumps, how is he out?
  • Only 20 runs were added in nine more overs and Inzamam's approach caused his dismissal, the ball going off bat and pad onto the stumps.
  • Kiddy Cricket is a popular spectacular featured during international matches, with the youngsters engaged in games using rubber balls, plastic bats and stumps.
3 Art A cylinder with conical ends made of rolled paper or other soft material, used for softening or blending marks made with a crayon or pencil.
4 [as modifier] chiefly North American Engaged in or involving political campaigning: he is an inspiring stump speaker
Referring to the use of a tree stump, from which an orator would speak
More example sentences
  • But even after a two-month stump campaign, the Bush plan for private Social Security accounts is sputtering.
  • Lincoln's skill as a stump speaker, enhanced by his six-foot-four-inch height, contributed to his political rise.
  • He has had barely a month on the campaign stump, but Wesley K. Clark is giving his fellow Presidential contenders a run for their money.


[with object]
1 (usually be stumped) (Of a question or problem) be too hard for; baffle: education chiefs were stumped by some of the exam questions
More example sentences
  • You can go here to the bulletin board on Jeopardy and read some game recaps and see which rare questions stumped Ken.
  • This innocent-sounding question has stumped mathematicians from Cantor's time to the present.
  • We were sure the last question would stump them and leave us with great video footage.
baffle, perplex, puzzle, confuse, confound, defeat, put at a loss
informal flummox, throw, floor, discombobulate
1.1 (be stumped) Be at a loss; be unable to work out what to do or say: detectives are stumped for a reason for the attack
More example sentences
  • For example, the press agents were stumped when asked to explain the rules and legal implications of the Wi-Fi Internet waves.
  • But when she got a National award for the song, they were stumped.
  • Each examined him separately but they, too, were stumped.
2 [no object] Walk stiffly and noisily: he stumped away on short thick legs
More example sentences
  • I jumped when I heard thunder and kids stumping and running around in the other room.
  • All at once, I saw two figures: one a little man who was stumping along eastward at a good walk, and the other a girl of maybe eight or ten who was running as hard as she was able down a cross street.
  • Haley walked into the kitchen and two minutes later Trevor came stumping into the kitchen.
3North American Travel around (a district) making political speeches: there is no chance that he will be well enough to stump the country [no object]: the two men had come to the city to stump for the presidential candidate
More example sentences
  • The chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, stumped the District Collectors at their two-day annual conference here on Monday.
  • Max is now stumping for his friend and fellow veteran, John Kerry.
  • In the 2000 primary Wellstone also opposed Gore, stumping for candidate Bill Bradley.
4Use a stump on (a drawing, line, etc.).



on the stump

informal Engaged in political campaigning.
Example sentences
  • That is a success, and he can take credit for that, being part of the Government, and that will be one of many reasons why he is out on the stump, campaigning for the return of a Labour Government.
  • When I went on the stump during the election campaign, I did not meet one person, apart from the National candidate, who did not back this policy.
  • Bush aides say that over the next 18 days the president's performances out on the stump, out on the campaign trail are going to be crucial.

up a stump

North American informal In a situation too difficult for one to manage.
Example sentences
  • But we never came to an asylum - so I was up a stump, as you may say.

Phrasal verbs

stump something up

British informal Pay a sum of money: a buyer would have to stump up at least 8.5 million dollars for the site
More example sentences
  • I still haven't stumped it up yet, I think I'vegot till the end of the month to find 10 k behind my sofa.
  • You will have to stump it up and hope you can claim it back in court.
  • I would add the bond amount if you are going to rent (I know its refundable but you still have to stump it up, up front) and the connection charges for electricity/ phone/ internet.


Middle English (denoting a part of a limb remaining after an amputation): from Middle Low German stump(e) or Middle Dutch stomp. The early sense of the verb was 'stumble'.

  • One sense of stump refers to part of a limb remaining after an amputation, and this was the original meaning of the noun. The verb was initially ‘to stumble over an obstacle’, especially over a tree stump. The sense ‘to baffle’, was first used in American English in the early 19th century and probably arose from the idea of coming across stumps in ploughing which obstruct the progress of the plough. The Australian phrase beyond the black stump means ‘beyond the limits of settled, and therefore civilized, life’. It comes from the custom of using a fire-blackened stump of wood as a marker when giving directions to travellers. To be on the stump is to go about the country making political speeches, a usage that originated in rural America in the late 18th century, when a person making a speech would often use a tree stump as an impromptu platform. The Democratic politician Adlai Stevenson said of Richard Nixon that he was ‘the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, and then mount the stump, and make a speech on conservation’. To stump up a tree is to dig it up by the roots. This gives the meaning ‘to pay up, especially reluctantly’, from the image of digging deep into your pocket.

Words that rhyme with stump

bump, chump, clump, crump, dump, flump, frump, gazump, grump, jump, lump, outjump, plump, pump, rump, scrump, slump, sump, thump, trump, tump, ump, whump

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: stump

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