Definition of bum in English:


Line breaks: bum
Pronunciation: /bʌm


North American
1A vagrant: bums had been known to wander up to their door and ask for a sandwich
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
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)

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1 [no object] (usually bum around) Travel with no particular purpose: 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, laze, languish, moon, stooge, droop, dally, dawdle, amble, potter, wander, drift, meander
informal mooch
North American informal lollygag, bat
1.1Pass one’s time idly: students bumming around at university
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 quarters 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.
scrounge, beg, borrow
informal cadge, sponge, touch someone for
British informal scab
Scottish informal sorn on someone for
North American informal mooch
Australian/New Zealand informal bludge


[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.
bad, poor, inferior, second-rate, second-class, unsatisfactory, inadequate, unacceptable, substandard, not up to scratch, not up to par, deficient, imperfect, defective, faulty, shoddy, amateurish, careless, negligent; dreadful, awful, terrible, abominable, frightful, atrocious, disgraceful, deplorable, hopeless, worthless, laughable, lamentable, miserable, sorry, third-rate, diabolical, execrable
informal crummy, rotten, pathetic, useless, woeful, lousy, ropy, appalling, abysmal, pitiful, God-awful, dire, poxy, not up to snuff, the pits
British informal duff, chronic, rubbish
vulgar slang crap, shit, chickenshit


mid 19th century: probably from bummer.


give someone (or get) the bum's rush

chiefly North American
Forcibly eject someone (or be forcibly ejected) from a place or gathering: the bouncer gave me the bum’s rush
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: the President-elect is getting the bum’s rush over the economy
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 Travelling rough and with no fixed home; vagrant: he continued to travel the country on the bum
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…

Phrasal verbs

bum someone out

North American Make someone feel annoyed, upset, or disappointed: I was assigned the day shift, which bummed me out
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:

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Word of the day dissonant
Pronunciation: ˈdɪs(ə)nənt
lacking harmony