Definition of jump in English:

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Pronunciation: /dʒʌmp/


1 [no object, usually with adverbial of direction] Push oneself off a surface and into the air by using the muscles in one’s legs and feet: the cat jumped off his lap he jumped twenty-five feet to the ground
More example sentences
  • But he soon found himself soaked with icy water, after jumping over a fifteen foot wall to reach the narrow riverbank.
  • The burglar then jumped 30 feet to freedom out of a window.
  • It was a brave decision because he had to jump about 15 feet down into the river in the dark.
1.1 [with object] Pass over (an obstacle or barrier) by jumping: one of the deer tried to jump the ditch
More example sentences
  • Despite our best efforts, the deer had easily jumped our carefully erected fence.
  • Visitors are ignoring numerous written and verbal warnings not to exit the building, and are jumping barriers or opening fire exits to get on to the mountain.
  • When she questioned them one of the men punched her in the face, leaving her with a swollen eye and a gash to the forehead, before the pair jumped the barriers and ran off.
vault (over), leap over, clear, sail over, hop over, go over, leapfrog;
pole-vault, hurdle
1.2 [with adverbial] (Of an athlete or horse) perform in a competition involving jumping over obstacles: his horse jumped well and won by five lengths
More example sentences
  • Two riders jumped steady clears to finish ahead of Joanne, but she held on to the third ticket after an agonising wait.
  • Fantasia jumped lazily the first time, but cantered after the fence - a sure sign your horse jumped well.
  • ‘He was beaten by a very good horse but he jumped well and battled well,’ he said.
1.3(Especially of prices or figures) rise suddenly and by a large amount: pre-tax profits jumped from £51,000 to £1.03 million
More example sentences
  • Fuel prices in Perth are also on the rise, with the average unleaded price jumping from 84.7 cents a litre on Monday to 92.4 cents yesterday.
  • On Monday, European oil stocks performed well as the price of oil jumped to its highest level in three months.
  • China's coal prices have jumped more than 40 per cent over the past year.
rise, go up, leap up, shoot up, soar, surge;
climb, increase, mount, escalate, spiral
informal skyrocket
1.4 informal (Of a place) be full of lively activity: the bar is jumping on Fridays and Saturdays
More example sentences
  • The place was jumping, yes a little bit over crowded, and slightly pretentious, but that just added to the atmosphere.
  • Well get down to the Dooney some night this week, because the place is literally jumping with the best music and craic around.
  • The annual regatta fortnight is held over the final week of July and first week of August, a time when the place is jumping with visitors and locals alike.
1.5 [with object] informal (Of driver or a vehicle) fail to stop at (a red traffic light): she jumped at least seven red lights
More example sentences
  • They were installed at traffic lights along the busy A630 Balby corridor last March to stop motorists jumping red lights.
  • Leigh's car was seen driving at high speeds close to another car and both vehicles jumped a red light.
  • Another idea is placing cameras on traffic lights to catch drivers jumping red lights.
ignore, disregard, fail to stop at, drive through, overshoot
informal run
1.6 [with object] Get on or off (a train or other vehicle) quickly, typically illegally or dangerously: he jumped a freight train on the German border
More example sentences
  • Money was tight and we had to keep low, so we jumped a freight train to get back to New York.
  • I wound up jumping freight trains, going to Texas and not going to school, working in the oil fields, bucking hay, and doing all kinds of stuff.
  • Our hero took his chance and legged it, grabbing his coat and case and jumping train miles from home.
1.7 [with object] North American Take summary possession of (a mining concession or other piece of land) after alleged abandonment or forfeiture by the former occupant: the same long story about the time somebody jumped his claim
More example sentences
  • During an argument over which settler had the right to jump the land claim of an Indiana lumber company, Coleman shot Dow in the back.
  • After Deborah wins Linda's quarter-section from Crook by jumping the claim, she and Eden develop the land and begin extracting manganese from the hill at the center of the property.
2 [no object, usually with adverbial] (Of a person) move suddenly and quickly in a specified way: Juliet jumped to her feet they jumped back into the car and drove off
More example sentences
  • Adam was quiet for a few minutes, then he suddenly jumped to his feet.
  • I heard someone coming up the stairs, so I quickly jumped into bed, and hid the backpack under the covers.
  • They immediately jumped to their feet, their faces flushed with guilt, just as Mr. Christensen walked in.
2.1(Of a person) make a sudden involuntary movement in reaction to something that causes surprise or shock: an owl hooted nearby, making her jump
More example sentences
  • The man, surprised by this sudden movement jumped, and screamed.
  • We all jumped, surprised that she was even paying attention.
  • Whenever something fell or moved, she'd jump in surprise.
start, jerk, jolt, flinch, recoil, twitch, wince;
shudder, shake, quiver
informal jump out of one's skin
2.2Pass quickly or abruptly from one idea, subject, or state to another: the book jumps constantly from Brooklyn to Harlem
More example sentences
  • The storyline jumps forward and backward in time in non-linear fragments.
  • While the script jumps forward and backwards in time, Rose leaves more unexplained than he should.
  • He was talking really fast, jumping from one subject to the next, probably hoping that he would not have to listen to what I had to say.
2.3 [with object] Omit or skip over (part of something) and pass on to a further point or stage.
Example sentences
  • Andrew Drury put in a near perfect performance that enabled him to jump a grade by skipping the yellow belt all together and moving up to orange belt.
  • But with tears streaming down my face it was easy to jump the dozen places to the front of the taxi queue.
  • Chuck was happy that his daughter was smart enough to jump a grade, but at the same time, it disturbed him. She was growing up so fast.
2.4(Of a machine or device) move or jerk suddenly and abruptly: the vibration can cause the needle to jump
More example sentences
  • As I squeezed the trigger, the sound was deafening, the gun jumped uncontrollably in my hands.
  • The polygraph needles jumped and the readings scrolled out.
  • I see him pointing right at me, the gun jumping in his hands.
2.5(Of a person) make a sudden, impulsive rush to do something: Gordon jumped to my defence
More example sentences
  • So he would know not to jump right into a relationship with you!
  • Whenever suffering appears we quickly jump to someone's aid.
  • As quickly as he had jumped to judge Tyler, Jon was learning to have pity for him.
2.6 Bridge Make a bid that is higher than necessary, in order to signal a strong hand: East jumped to four spades
More example sentences
  • If responder has a count of 12 points he can jump straight to three No-Trumps.
2.7 [with object] informal Attack (someone) suddenly and unexpectedly: he was jumped by seven men as he opened the front door of his home
More example sentences
  • Victim of a seemingly random attack, he was jumped and kicked to a pulp as he made his way home from a 21st birthday celebration.
  • Micky Adams is walking down the ramp when suddenly he is jumped from behind by a little guy dressed all in black.
  • Just as he was about to break the lock off the carriage door, he was suddenly jumped from behind.
3North American vulgar slang Have sexual intercourse with (someone).
4 [with object] North American informal Start (a vehicle) using jump leads: I jumped his saloon from my car’s battery
More example sentences
  • The man on the next farm comes and jumps the battery and goes home again, and I give him a few dollars each time it happens.
  • I jumped his Buick from the Bronco's battery.


1An act of jumping from a surface by pushing upwards with one’s legs and feet: in making the short jump across the gully he lost his balance
More example sentences
  • Both granddad and grandson were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and David had also injured his foot after the jump from the top of the house, but they had made it.
  • A virtuoso soubrette dancer noted for her light, springy jumps, strong feet, and sunny disposition, she was a favourite of Ashton's.
  • Tournament skiers like David have long exceeded the 100-feet mark for the jump.
leap, spring, vault, bound, hop;
bounce, skip
1.1An obstacle to be jumped, especially by a horse and rider in an equestrian competition: the horse made a nonsense of the second jump
More example sentences
  • The ‘Blues’ were to win almost every major race in Europe and America, on the flat as well as over the jumps and in harness racing.
  • Any horse falling at the trial jump or twice refusing is not allowed to compete.
  • The award is aimed at recognising consistently good performances in the major races of the jumps season.
obstacle, barrier;
fence, hurdle, rail, hedge, gate
1.2An act of descending from an aircraft by parachute: she will make a sponsored jump at Thruxton Airfield a parachute jump
More example sentences
  • But as Halvorsen said, the challenge for high-building jumping is to open the parachute successfully during the jump.
  • Now, nearly 13 years later, she has decided to do a parachute jump to raise money for the special care baby unit at Great Western Hospital.
  • At once terrifying and thrilling, many would consider a parachute jump to be the experience of a lifetime.
1.3A sudden dramatic rise in amount, price, or value: a 51 per cent jump in annual profits
More example sentences
  • The study blamed rapidly expanding road networks and a sharp increase in flights for the dramatic jump in air, noise and light pollution in the past decade.
  • Inflation in the UK took a sudden upward jump last month, rising to an annual rate of 2.6%.
  • We just found out the other day that gross domestic product rose 3.8 percent, a huge jump.
rise, leap, increase, upturn, upsurge, upswing, spiralling, lift, escalation, elevation, boost, advance, augmentation
informal hike
1.4A large or sudden transition or change: the jump from county to Test cricket
More example sentences
  • Employers have to rethink the way they treat older workers - a gradual glide into retirement being much better than a sudden jump.
  • Of course, I flew from London to Istanbul, so it was a sudden jump from one culture to another, rather than a gradual shift.
  • Moreover, the transition between these two regimes is known to be sharp; it is a true discontinuity, a sudden jump rather than a smooth gradation.
1.5 Bridge A bid that is higher than necessary, signalling strength: a jump to four indicates support for responder’s suit
More example sentences
  • Generally, a jump bid indicates to your (still-bidding) partner that there is at least one suit for which you cannot supply a card needed for the run.
2North American vulgar slang, dated An act of sexual intercourse.
3A sudden involuntary movement caused by shock or surprise: I woke up with a jump
More example sentences
  • Jenny gave a jump of surprise and turned bright red.
  • Upon recognizing who it was, I gave a jump of surprise.
  • I sat down rather suddenly next to Ming, who, evidently startled, gave a little jump in surprise.
start, jerk, sudden movement, involuntary movement, convulsive movement, spasm, twitch, wince;
shudder, quiver, shake
3.1 (the jumps) informal Extreme nervousness or anxiety: you get the jumps—you feel like J. Edgar Hoover’s on your tail



be jumping up and down

informal Be very angry, upset, or excited: there are people jumping up and down because at this stage they do not understand all the pros and cons
More example sentences
  • I'm jumping up and down with excitement about coming out to celebrate with you tomorrow night!
  • For these reasons, you'd expect liberals to be jumping up and down with joy.
  • Before you all start jumping up and down at that last question, read on.

get (or have) the jump on someone

North American informal Get (or have) an advantage over someone as a result of one’s prompt action: two of the team’s top scouts rooted him out of bed at daybreak in their haste to get the jump on their rivals
More example sentences
  • Use this discovery to your advantage before your competitors get the jump on you!
  • So the sooner you figure out the real story, the sooner you'll have the jump on them.
  • You've got me confused with my brother Sandro - he's got the jump on me age-wise, by ten years.

jump bail

see bail1.

jump someone's bones

North American vulgar slang Have sexual intercourse with someone.

jump down someone's throat

informal Respond to what someone has said in a sudden and angrily critical way: I was about to say, before you jumped down my throat, that I agree with you
More example sentences
  • So here is another sincere apology for jumping down your throat.
  • But he didn't get an opportunity to tell them this information before they jumped down his throat and accused him of being unsupportive.
  • Ok, before you start jumping down my throat, let me explain.

jump for joy

Be ecstatically happy: I’m not exactly jumping for joy at the prospect
More example sentences
  • She was jumping for joy because she's about to become a granny for the first time.
  • I'm afraid that whatever the headlines, there is no basis for council tax payers to be jumping for joy.
  • While some neighbouring residents were jumping for joy at the result, others voiced their anger that the application had made it so far in the planning process.

jump the gun

see gun.

jump in with both feet

Get started enthusiastically.
Example sentences
  • Al Franken's never done radio and jumped in with both feet as a self-proclaimed amateur at the head of a network that was entirely brand new, as well run by other amateurs.
  • She's new to the community, but she certainly jumped in with both feet.
  • I was a bit less enthusiastic, not being the type to jump in with both feet before testing the depth of the water.

jump into bed with

informal Engage readily in sexual intercourse with: Veronica was never the type to jump into bed with total strangers
More example sentences
  • You see I happen to know that my sister would never jump into bed with just any man unless she loves him.
  • Kate may not be the prettiest girl in the room, but she's for damn sure the one every guy wants to jump into bed with.
  • Mandy is a bright young woman who wants to better herself and is tired of being treated as a sex object, yet she still tends to find herself jumping into bed with inappropriate men.

jump on the bandwagon


jump out of one's skin

informal Be extremely startled: I nearly jumped out of my skin when Guy fired his revolver
More example sentences
  • Then the plane started shaking and I nearly jumped out of my skin.
  • The clock struck midnight, and half of us jumped out of our skin.
  • I stopped singing suddenly, nearly jumping out of my skin when someone put their hand on my shoulder.

jump the queue (or US jump in line)

Push into a queue of people in order to be served or dealt with before one’s turn: he jumped the queue at the ticket counter
More example sentences
  • Things get even more unbelievable when I am met by a minder at the airport and get to jump the queue to get my passport checked and suitcase scanned.
  • We realised when they started shouting that we must have jumped the queue, so Mark waved the taxi on rather than getting in.
  • Richard Kelly, prosecuting, said fists and hands flailed in a Chelmsford fish and chip shop early in the morning of December 21 when the three thought a man had jumped the queue.
12.1Take unfair precedence over others: the old boy networks were one way of jumping the promotion queue
More example sentences
  • Moves to prevent drifters jumping the queue for council homes in Scarborough have been rejected by housing officers as too complicated.
  • Because addicts who are sent to the drug court go on a methadone programme immediately, critics say criminals are jumping the queue.
  • But not only have they jumped the queue; they have turned public opinion against any kind of immigration.

jump the rails (or track)

(Of a train) become dislodged from the track: the engine jumped the rails on its maiden run it’s an action movie so fast it threatens to jump the rails
More example sentences
  • A report by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada reveals that improperly supported track joints led to surface defects on both rails, causing a CN train to jump the track in May 2003.
  • He and his co-driver were trapped in their cab after the train jumped the rails and ploughed into trackside gardens.
  • The accident happened when the train jumped the rails at a level crossing in Wigtownshire and landed on its side.

jump the shark

informal (Of a television series or film) reach a point when far-fetched events are included merely for the sake of novelty, indicative of a decline in quality: the majority of television has jumped the shark; few shows maintain their creative ingenuity
Said to be with allusion to the long-running US television series Happy Days, in which the central character (the Fonz) jumped over a shark when waterskiing
More example sentences
  • It had its faults - some say it jumped the shark when Niles and Daphne got married - and, as with any long-running show, it could get tiresome sometimes.
  • Many fans consider this season the high water mark of the series; others say it's the year Buffy finally jumped the shark.
  • Thus, the 15 minutes of fame for someone who takes herself way too seriously is extended, and another classic ad campaign jumps the shark.

jump ship

(Of a sailor) leave the ship on which one is serving without having obtained permission to do so: he jumped ship in Cape Town
More example sentences
  • When the Dutch Fleet visited Australia in 1910 a large number of sailors jumped ship and at least twelve of them later settled in Adelaide.
  • She's been feeling a bit low lately after a messy break-up, and I get the impression that things have been a bit stressful for her at work, with layoffs and people jumping ship.
  • Escaping poverty, they simply jumped ship after docking in New York or San Francisco.

jump through hoops

Go through an elaborate or complicated procedure in order to achieve an objective: if you want a home birth, you have to fight and jump through hoops
More example sentences
  • If I have to phone a call centre it's because I actually need some help with something, and don't appreciate being made to jump through hoops for several minutes before getting hold of a real, live human being who can assist me.
  • Unfortunately it is usually women, mainly single parents, who need genuine help and they are expected to jump through hoops to get any help.
  • He said if extra money was available for council housing, the council shouldn't be made to jump through hoops by the government to get it.

jump to conclusions

see conclusion.
Example sentences
  • Most managers have a tendency to leap to conclusions and are overconfident about the validity of their judgements.
  • They had, moreover, leapt to the conclusion that these were forgeries without anything approaching actual proof.
  • I find that people have difficulty understanding that broad statistical generalizations don't justify leaping to conclusions about individuals.

jump to it!

informal Used to exhort someone to prompt or immediate action: get back to work—come on, jump to it!
More example sentences
  • I'll be firing as fast as you can load them, so jump to it!
  • In the car he demands Elvis on the CD player and woe betide us we don't jump to it at once.
  • I've work to do and you, I believe, have some study? Now jump to it.
hurry up, get a move on, be quick
informal get cracking, get moving, get on with it, shake a leg, look lively, look sharp, get/pull one's finger out, get weaving, rattle one's dags
British informal get one's skates on, stir one's stumps
North American informal get a wiggle on
Australian/New Zealand informal get a wriggle on
South African informal put foot
dated make haste

one jump ahead

One step or stage ahead of someone else and so having the advantage over them: the Americans were one jump ahead of the British in this
More example sentences
  • Smart, self-assured and beautifully made, Ocean's Eleven has enough clever moves and sneaky surprises to stay one jump ahead of the audience and remain highly entertaining until the very last drop.
  • The argument is harsh but compelling: to kill off the disease the vets need to get one jump ahead of it and that means slaughtering animals which are healthy today but might still be contaminated with the virus.
  • He always tries to ensure that he is one jump ahead of everyone else.

Phrasal verbs


jump at

Accept (an opportunity or offer) with great eagerness: I’d jump at the chance of a career in football
More example sentences
  • So when he invited me along on his business trip to Miami, I jumped at the opportunity.
  • She is keen to work here and if she got the right offer she would jump at the chance.
  • Even though he was in his mid sixties and had just survived a serious illness, Hoet jumped at the offer of new employment.
accept eagerly, leap at, welcome with open arms, seize on, snap up, grab, snatch, pounce on, go for enthusiastically, show enthusiasm for

jump off

(Of a military campaign) begin: the air-attack phase will continue before the ground attack jumps off
More example sentences
  • The attack jumped off at Honnef, 10 April.
  • The First Infantry Division attack jumped off at 0600.
  • The mines were cleared without casualty, and the Marine assault jumped off at 1000.

jump on

Attack or take hold of (someone) suddenly: two men jumped on him from behind
More example sentences
  • Now I keep looking around expecting someone to jump on me and attack me.
  • Then one of them jumped on us and we fell against the police car.
  • She is jumped on and beaten by a man who steals her fur coat.
3.1Criticize (someone) suddenly and severely: we had sergeants and inspectors jumping on us for the least little thing
More example sentences
  • Now before you all go jumping on me for being intolerant, I'll tell you all a few things about being intolerant.
  • Be it politics or religion or sports or even raising my own damned kids, there is always someone eager to jump on me for the things I say.
3.2Seize on (something) eagerly; give sudden (typically critical) attention to: the paper jumped on the inconsistencies of his stories
More example sentences
  • I don't really blame his critics for jumping on this - I'd probably do the same in their shoes - but the evidence of outright falsehoods is fairly limited.
  • And why were the media so quick to jump on the story, pillory it, and then refuse to acknowledge their own participation in producing and promoting the hoax?
  • I also remember how many times Roone was jumped on by the critics when one of his many news or sports experiments tanked.

jump out

Have a strong visual or mental impact; be very striking: advertising posters that really jump out at you
More example sentences
  • But these aspects of a novel are often what jumps out at me.
  • Still, as I'm cutting up the paper I scan the pages and occasionally a photo or header jumps out at me.
  • From the air, the helipad atop the roof of the Leeds General Infirmary jumps out at you, the great white cross unmissable.



Example sentences
  • But on perfect going, the imaginative course was perfectly jumpable and although only two of the 25 starters returned clear, five more made just a single error.
  • There are plenty of jumpable walls around the garden, after all.
  • I was given what was said to be a quiet horse, but was warned that it might try to jump anything jumpable.


Early 16th century (in the sense 'be moved or thrown with a sudden jerk'): probably imitative of the sound of feet coming into contact with the ground.

  • Like bump (mid 16th century) and thump (mid 16th century), jump was probably formed because it ‘sounded right’, and seemed to express the sound of feet hitting the ground. It was first used around 1500. To jump the gun, or act too soon, comes from the idea of an athlete starting a race a split-second before they hear the starting gun. A jumpsuit was a term first used in the USA in the 1940s for the outfit worn by parachutists when making their jumps. Jumper (mid 19th century) is unrelated. In the 19th century it was a loose outer jacket worn by sailors and is now a woollen jersey in UK English, but a style of dress in the USA. It may come from Scots jupe, ‘a loose jacket or tunic’, which in turn came through French from Arabic jubba.

Words that rhyme with jump

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

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: jump

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