Definition of bounce in English:

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Pronunciation: /baʊns/


1 [no object, usually with adverbial of direction] (With reference to an object, especially a ball) move quickly up, back, or away from a surface after hitting it: the ball bounced away and he chased it [with object]: he was bouncing the ball against the wall
More example sentences
  • When one of the team members missed a shot, the ball bounced off the rim and came straight at her.
  • The ball bounced off the inside of the post, across the goal and was cleared to safety.
  • The ball bounced off his foot into the net.
rebound, spring back, bob, recoil, ricochet, jounce;
North American  carom
rare resile
1.1(Of light, sound, or an electronic signal) come into contact with an object or surface and be reflected back: short sound waves bounce off even small objects
More example sentences
  • If the pattern is designed correctly the reflected light will bounce off at an angle that causes it to strike the surface again and to have a second chance to be absorbed.
  • That's when transmitted radio signals bounce off barriers and take multiple paths to get to a receiver, resulting in interference.
  • Radio signals bounce off different pieces of matter - floors, metal, even the air around you - at different angles and speeds.
1.2 (also bounce back) (Of an email) be returned to its sender after failing to reach its destination: I tried to email him, but the message bounced
More example sentences
  • Last night we got word from a reader that an email had bounced.
  • The non-yahoo e-mail bounced and I received no reply from the yahoo one for two weeks.
  • If the email bounces or is undeliverable, it is placed into the mail queue for later processing.
1.3 (bounce back) Recover well after a setback or problem: the savings rate has already started to bounce back and is sure to rise further
More example sentences
  • Each time he bounces back, but each recovery takes its toll on his authority.
  • The players, once able to bounce back from setbacks and adversity, are looking more and more like dead men walking.
  • Any tips for a young reporter on bouncing back from a minor set-back?
recover, revive, rally, make a comeback, take a turn for the better, pick up, be on the mend, be on the road to recovery;
perk up, cheer up, brighten up, become livelier, take heart, be heartened, liven up, take on a new lease of life
informal buck up
1.4 [with object] West Indian Come into sudden forceful contact with; collide with: people cross the road as slowly as possible, as if daring the cars to bounce them
2 [no object, usually with adverbial of direction] Jump repeatedly up and down, typically on something springy: Emma was happily bouncing up and down on the mattress
More example sentences
  • Rebecca jumped in the air bouncing up and down with excitement.
  • She was jumping around, bouncing from foot to foot.
  • She bounced on the springy seat, playing with the wire puzzle Cinnamon had bought for her.
2.1Move up and down repeatedly: the gangplank bounced under his confident step
More example sentences
  • The floor vibrated and bounced under my feet.
  • The stadium swayed and bounced under my feet as the crowd stomped up and down.
  • I stuck my key down into the slot, where it bounced up and down, but did nothing to help start the car.
2.2 [with object] Cause (a child) to move lightly up and down on one’s knee as a game: I remember how you used to bounce me on your knee
More example sentences
  • She was still bouncing her child lightly in an attempt to soothe her.
  • Sitting outside a group of tents closely placed together, she bounced a toddler on her knee.
  • Two of his daughters were there, laughing and carrying small children, and he was bouncing a third child on his knees.
2.3 [with adverbial of direction] (Of a vehicle) move jerkily along a bumpy surface: the car bounced down the narrow track
More example sentences
  • A dilapidated cab bounced along a pitch-black dirt road and we could see in the silhouette, large structures shadowed around us.
  • The truck bounced wildly along the trail and spun out onto the road.
  • Our carriage bounced along that road, and I was sitting across from both of my parents.
2.4 [with adverbial of direction] Move in a particular direction in an energetic, happy, or enthusiastic manner: Linda bounced in through the open front door
More example sentences
  • He is bouncing around in a manner ill-befitting one who has recently consumed so much lager.
  • I like the company of other people and, as a performer, I am at my happiest when I'm bouncing around a stage that is very much shared.
  • Jenna stood in the doorway, looking overly happy and practically bouncing across the room to the end of the bed.
bound, leap, jump, spring, bob, hop, skip, trip, gambol, dance, prance, romp, caper, cavort, frisk, frolic, sport
3 [no object] informal (Of a cheque) be returned by a bank to the payee when there are not enough funds in the drawer’s account to meet it: a further two cheques of £160 also bounced
More example sentences
  • So, if your monthly repayment is late or your cheque bounces because you don't have enough in your bank account, you'll be fined £25 or so.
  • He owed money, was in and out of overdraft and cheques had bounced.
  • Unfortunately, they receive a letter about a week later telling them the cheque has bounced.
3.1 [with object] (Of a bank) return a cheque to the payee when there are not enough funds in the drawer’s account to meet it: the bank bounced the cheque
More example sentences
  • Even if a cheque cleared on a Wednesday, technically a bank could bounce that cheque up to mid-day on Thursday.
  • Today you're even more stressed because you're overdrawn and have to make a deposit by noon or your bank will bounce your mortgage payment.
  • Last month the bank bounced a cheque for a very large sum of money - the deposit on a house purchase.
4 [with object] informal Eject (a troublemaker) forcibly from a nightclub or similar establishment.
Example sentences
  • The bouncer very roughly bounced him out of the saloon.
  • We decided not to tolerate any more and eventually bounced her out.
  • They immediately bounced him out of the club.
4.1chiefly North American Dismiss (someone) from a job: those who put in a dismal performance will be bounced from the tour
More example sentences
  • He was bounced from the team after testing positive for marijuana.
  • Could it be that another juror is about to be bounced from the case?
  • Maybe the women wanted her to bounce the president out of the White House because he had been disloyal to her.
5 [with object] British informal Pressurize (someone) into doing something, typically by presenting them with a fait accompli: the government should beware being bounced into any ill-considered foreign gamble
More example sentences
  • He claimed he was bounced into resignation.
  • You said you were bounced into going along with his dismissal.
  • No-one should be bounced into a decision by people with a vested interest.


1A rebound of a ball or other object: the wicket was causing the occasional erratic bounce
More example sentences
  • Apart from the fact that we got one or two bad bounces of the ball, there wasn't much between the sides.
  • Sometimes the ball gets 16 bounces before he reconciles himself to the idea of serving with it.
  • The game of wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able bodied tennis except that a wheelchair player is allowed two bounces of the ball.
1.1 [mass noun] The ability of a surface to make a ball rebound in a specified way: a pitch of low bounce
More example sentences
  • They bowled with discipline on a surface lacking in bounce, and fielded with a tigerish resolve to win by eight runs.
  • On a surface a yard slower in pace and lower in bounce than Lord's, he sent down the same old stuff.
  • He could not repeat his Bristol explosiveness, with the slower, variable bounce upsetting his ability to hit cleanly.
springiness, spring;
resilience, elasticity, give, rebound, recoil
1.2West Indian A collision.
Example sentences
  • They also learn how to take a bounce without stumbling, since most of their performances are carried out among crowds at the height of jubilation.
2An act of jumping or of moving up and down jerkily: every bounce of the truck brought them into fresh contact
More example sentences
  • Cassie jumped off her stage to land with an intimidating bounce.
  • I jumped on my bed, and landed with a satisfactory bounce, and just lay there - sprawled and tangled in my blankets.
  • Arthur was performed by the perennial Peter Pan of the company, Michael O'Hare, whose steps always have a bounce and energy about them.
rebound, reflection, ricochet
2.1A sudden rise in the level of something: economists agree that there could be a bounce in prices next year
More example sentences
  • ‘I don't think anything we have seen suggests we are going to see a sudden bounce,’ he said.
  • A small bounce in share prices and the picture will look quite different.
  • But what was interesting about the bounce was that it was not accompanied by a rise in the corporate bond market.
2.2 [mass noun] Exuberant self-confidence: the bounce was now back in Jenny’s step
More example sentences
  • And it is not clear that he will be sailing into the summer convention with a great deal of brag and bounce.
  • But there was no bounce and cheerfulness in her voice like there used to be.
  • He was relaxed, enthusiastic, full of bounce.
vitality, vigour, energy, vivacity, liveliness, life, animation, sparkle, effervescence, exuberance, verve, spiritedness, spirit, enthusiasm, dynamism, fire, ardour, zeal, push, drive;
cheerfulness, cheeriness, happiness, joy, buoyancy, optimism, high spirits, light-heartedness, merriment, jollity, ebullience
informal go, get-up-and-go, pep, oomph, pizzazz, zing, zip, fizz, feistiness
2.3 [mass noun] Health and body in a person’s hair: use conditioner to help hair regain its bounce
More example sentences
  • It is the professional who feels the texture, quality and decides a cut that gives balance and bounce to the hair.
  • It includes two products that work together to hydrate and tone your hair, imparting softness and bounce to natural body.
  • She attempted to get her curls to regain their bounce, and she managed to do a good job.



be bouncing off the walls

North American informal Be full of nervous excitement or agitation: the skiers were bouncing off the walls, they were so tired
More example sentences
  • All night the kids were bouncing off the walls, ecstatically excited about visiting the zoo.
  • If it weren't so early, you'd be bouncing off the walls, and you know it!
  • ‘I'm ecstatic, I haven't stopped talking about it and I'm just bouncing off the walls at the moment,’ said Chris.

bounce an idea off

informal Share an idea with (someone) in order to refine it: he thrives on bouncing ideas off other people
More example sentences
  • If someone needs to bounce an idea off of someone, another person is able offer honest insight and feedback.
  • This guy also gave me his card and told me to call him if I wanted to bounce an idea off him.
  • It's for people who need that extra ear, are going it alone, or simply need to bounce an idea off a smart group of people.

on the bounce

As something rebounds: he caught the ball on the bounce
More example sentences
  • He ran through to catch the ball on the bounce.
  • A child caught his ball on the bounce and turned with his friends to admire our cars.
  • The full-back came from nowhere to take the ball on the bounce.
informal3.1 In quick succession: it’s nice to get four victories on the bounce
More example sentences
  • He won four frames on the bounce to edge 4-3 ahead.
  • Coming off four heavy defeats on the bounce, his charges looked lamentably short on confidence.
  • We've been striving for that consistency and to win four on the bounce is brilliant.


Middle English bunsen 'beat, thump', perhaps imitative, or from Low German bunsen 'beat', Dutch bons 'a thump'.

  • flirt from mid 16th century:

    Like words such as biff (mid 19th century), bounce (early 16th century), flick [ see fillip], and spurt (late 16th century), and many others often sharing the same sounds, flirt apparently arose because it somehow ‘sounded right’ to convey the idea it represented. In the case of flirt the elements fl- and -irt probably suggest sudden movement—the original verb senses were ‘to give someone a sharp blow’, ‘to move or propel suddenly’, and ‘to sneer at’. As a noun it first meant ‘joke, gibe’, and ‘flighty girl’, with a notion originally of cheekiness rather than of playfully amorous behaviour.

Words that rhyme with bounce

announce, denounce, flounce, fluid ounce, jounce, mispronounce, ounce, pounce, pronounce, renounce, trounce

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bounce

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