Definition of stump in English:

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Pronunciation: /stʌmp/


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.
stub, end, tail end, remnant, remains, remainder, butt;
piece, part, segment
informal fag end, dog end
2 Cricket Each of the three upright pieces of wood which 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.
2.1 (stumps) Close of play in a cricket match.
Example sentences
  • The day got better for Haryana when they snapped up two Jharkhand wickets in the four overs that they got before stumps.
  • Then to rub salt in the wounds, the home team took a slender five-run lead with three wickets down by stumps to set themselves up for a considerable first innings lead.
  • With Border having to bowl 20 overs before the close of play, Easterns played defensively and this may have contributed to their losing four wickets by 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.
4chiefly North American Used in relation to political campaigning: his jibes at his opponents may have won him some support on the stump early in his campaign [as modifier]: 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 informal (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, bewilder, mystify, nonplus, defeat;
be too much for, put at a loss, bring up short
informal flummox, fox, be all Greek to, throw, floor, discombobulate
archaic wilder, gravel, maze
rare obfuscate
1.1 (be stumped) Be at a loss; not know 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, with adverbial of direction] 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.
stomp, stamp, clomp, clump, lumber, trudge, plod;
thump, thud, bang, thunder;
Scottish & Northern Irish  sprauchle
3 Cricket (Of a wicketkeeper) dismiss (a batsman) by dislodging the bails with the ball while the batsman is out of the crease but not running.
Example sentences
  • Burn opener Stuart Nesbitt had reached 54 when stumped by opposing wicketkeeper Dave Greenway, who snapped up a further two chances.
  • Easts wicket keeper Dale Box did well with the gloves, stumping two batsmen, one off the bowling of Jobson and another off David Wells.
  • The Alice team were given good service by their wicketkeeper, V Makapela, who stumped two batsmen and caught one.
4North American Travel around (a district) making political speeches: there is no chance that he will be well enough to stump the country
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.
5 Art Use a stump on (a drawing, line, etc.).


up a stump

North American informal In a situation too difficult to manage: he was up a stump if his animals got sick
More 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 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.
pay, pay up, hand over, part with, give, put in, contribute, donate
informal fork out, shell out, dish out, lay out, come across with, cough up, chip in
North American informal ante up, pony up


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

Line breaks: stump

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