Main definitions of bum in English

: bum1bum2

bum1

noun

North American
informal
  • 1A vagrant:

    ‘bums had been known to wander up to their door and ask for a sandwich’
    • ‘The streets of the planet were lightly populated by a few wanderers and bums, some of them looking like they had never bathed once in their life.’
    • ‘You're not condemned to a life of rolling down the window and asking bums for directions.’
    • ‘In response, he created Bowery Derelicts - a group of drunken bums, inspired by people he saw every day across from his apartment.’
    • ‘Abroad, the cultural influence has been vast, from The Beachcombers' Relic, to rappers, bums and crooks the world over.’
    • ‘Often it seemed that little more than the kerchief I tied over my nose separated me from the alcohol-smelling bums with crumbs in their beards who bookended me, swooning to Albinoni.’
    • ‘What do a down-and-out bum and a publishing house employee have in common?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So we dressed up for Halloween as gypsies and bums and hobos (the latter two later known as The Homeless) and other stereotypical costumes.’
    • ‘Chuckling with maniacal glee the old bum loosened the rope that held up his voluminous, beggared trousers.’
    • ‘After the great stock market crash, all the rich gentleman were reduced to bums and hobos.’
    • ‘For certified ski bums - or folks who want to look the part - we recommend the Primo Moc Gore-Tex by Merrell.’
    • ‘The amount of sinister looking bums and wandering pedestrians was in shorter stock here, the sidewalks mostly filled by a few meandering tourists who had gotten an early start on their shopping.’
    • ‘Friday was spent weaving through filth encrusted bums passed-out in the gutter, as I took a therapeutic tour of some of the wicked (yet pretty pouncy) shops in the Valley.’
    • ‘Film makers Ray Laticia and Ty Beeson, both recent graduates of the California film schools, have marketed the video as a chance to see ‘drunk bums beating each other silly’.’
    • ‘If you think about it, living life as a bum, hobo, or a transient is pretty extreme.’
    • ‘Only haggards, bums, and barflies wandered the streets this late.’
    • ‘Not that I've never seen Asian bums and drunks and beggars sprawled out on the street.’
    • ‘He seemed frustrated and said, ‘I know I'm supposed to walk on the curb side, but in San Francisco all the bums are on the inside.’’
    • ‘People called bums and derelicts in the 20s and 30s had some of the best-paying, most secure jobs in industrial America by the 50s and 60s.’
    • ‘Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Eleanor cared for a succession of hoboes, vagabonds, and bums who called at the back door of the large house the family owned on Hamond Street in Chicago.’
    • ‘Even the gang members are perfect, sipping beers in their cheap, showy suits against a background teeming with transients and bums.’
    vagrant, vagabond, homeless person, derelict, down-and-out
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A lazy or worthless person:
      ‘you ungrateful bum!’
      • ‘He opened his bedroom door and we all went in, then being the lazy bums we were, we slept half the day away.’
      • ‘Although she had her own money, she wasn't going to support a lazy bum that had no job or career.’
      • ‘Buck didn't reply right away, he had always been called a loser, a misfit, or a bum.’
      • ‘Much to his surprise, dad is released early on Christmas Eve, but he's still a worthless bum.’
      • ‘Do you think Santa flew all the way here and left these presents so you can sleep in like lazy bums?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He knew that when he came downstairs at one o'clock his parents would call him a lazy bum and ask him how he could sleep so late.’
      • ‘This multi-talented filmmaker makes jacks-of-all-trades like Robert Rodriguez and Steven Soderbergh seem like lazy bums.’
      • ‘If you are such a lazy, dishonest bum as to disagree with that basic premise, then we are not having a conversation about political economy.’
      • ‘So, if I had my way I'd dramatically alter the Labour Code, because the increased provision for annual leave is going to move us further along the road of breeding a lazy bunch of bums.’
      • ‘It having been the winter and me having been the lazy bum that I am, it's been awhile since I shaved my legs.’
      • ‘I would really like to thank each and every one of you personally, but I'm a lazy bum.’
      • ‘Because you are the laziest, most good-for-nothing bums, collection of bums, I've seen in a long time.’
      • ‘His family and friends disown him as a wastrel and a bum.’
      • ‘Im such a lazy bum and I don't spell check the chapters.’
      • ‘I make no apologies for being a lazy, unfocused bum who fritters away opportunities.’
      • ‘Anzuko laughed, ‘And Kenji grew up to be a real lazy bum who couldn't even string a bow.’’
      • ‘That I knew she wasn't the lazy bum she wanted everyone to think.’
      • ‘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.’
      idler, loafer, good-for-nothing, wastrel, drone, scrounger, cadger, ne'er-do-well, do-nothing, layabout, slob, lounger, shirker, sluggard, laggard, slugabed, malingerer
      View synonyms
  • 2[in combination] A person who devotes a great deal of time to a specified activity:

    ‘a ski bum’
    • ‘I mean, my dad is in his sixties, rides motorcycles and is still a ski bum.’
    • ‘There's an awkward friction between Miller, rollicking ski bum of the people, and the exclusivity of a place like the Yellowstone Club.’
    • ‘Photographs taken by the Pigs on the Hill, a dedicated group of ski bums, show off the region's extreme backcountry trails and ski touring terrain.’
    • ‘Surfer was the comically subversive tale of a group of ski bums (the Slackers) visited by a mysterious stranger who skis magically and imparts mystical knowledge.’
    • ‘Today, however, closer to sea level, Burt looks pretty much like every other dirtbag ski bum in the area.’
    • ‘And now they're still ski bums, says somebody out there.’
    • ‘Growling in from left is Warren Miller, the puckish godfather of extreme-ski cinema and our nation's original ski bum.’
    • ‘Ski bums live in tents, car parks, bus stations, dog houses, whatever shelter than can find that can keep them skiing Fernie every day.’
    • ‘Serious ski bums will do anything - washing pots, cleaning toilets - if there is the promise of a free lift pass for the season in return.’
    • ‘A former ski bum, Balint, 64, has worked on Jackson Hole's legendary patrol for nearly a quarter century.’
    • ‘All our group of climbing bums, world travelers, and NOLS instructors had in common was lack of experience - and keen interest in backcountry mountain skiing.’
    • ‘When he left school his mother bought him an old car and he took off to the Alps to become an international ski bum - a highly talented one.’
    • ‘Part of me wants to go back to Park City and be a ski bum.’
    • ‘It's heavy and warm, with a waterproof exterior, so it might be useful for gadget-toting ski bums, bicyclists, and hikers.’
    • ‘I spent some time as an over educated ski bum and I traveled a lot before I settled down.’
    • ‘So Laurie set out for Park City, UT, taught Spanish in an elementary school, and became a ski bum.’
    • ‘That, and the absence of crowds, has turned Monterosa into a cult destination for alpine ski bums.’
    • ‘Telluride icon and professional ski bum Captain Jack Carey has long symbolized the quintessential adventurer in all of us.’

verb

informal
  • 1usually bum around[no object] Travel with no particular purpose:

    ‘he bummed around Florida for a few months’
    • ‘It took a phone call from Rewpert, who continues to excel at bumming around (he's in Wales), for me to realize why the B's refuse to talk to me while they're on vacation.’
    • ‘Over lunch with John M today the idea of bumming around the world came up.’
    • ‘He spent 15 years bumming around Canada working on trucks, ships and at mines.’
    • ‘Whether you're planning to flash your Florins in the salsa bars of Aruba, bum around the Andes on your Bolivianos, or simply eke out your Euros on the French Riviera, chances are you'll be needing some holiday money in the coming months.’
    • ‘They are a bunch of freeloading cretins dedicated to bumming around the villas of Europe and the Caribbean, pushing themselves onto unsuspecting hosts, eating them out of house and home, using up all their bog paper, then moving on.’
    • ‘I'm currently in Dublin just bumming around, sorting stuff out, but the clock is ticking.’
    • ‘Find someone to watch the dog and there you are, bumming around the Continent with your buddy.’
    • ‘Thrown out of two schools, John eventually graduated and bummed around the world with the stated ambition of ‘becoming a beggar.’’
    • ‘People - most of whom, as far I can discover in conversation later, are Australians bumming around Europe on some gap year experience - pass to and fro.’
    • ‘During the undergraduate years Paul had been working on building sites in Reading, saving up money to go to Australia and bum around for a year.’
    • ‘A failed actor with a history of alcoholism, Treadwell bummed around California until, he claims, he awoke from a blackout to discover a bear looming over him.’
    • ‘After college, Steve bummed around Europe on the Railpass junket for a few months.’
    • ‘He was in the Australian Regular Army 1986-1994, bummed around the world for a couple of years, has finished his law degree and works as research assistant at a commercial firm.’
    • ‘There's also Ian, a tutor who'd been previously bumming around Europe for years and now seduces the more attractive of the students to whom he teaches English.’
    • ‘I mean, sure, I'd like a guy to bum around this wacky planet with, but it's no big deal.’
    • ‘She's off to Spain for all of Feb, staying with friends and bumming around learning Spanish, and she's keeping her rented room on the go while she's away.’
    • ‘‘He got cancer when I was spending a year in America just bumming around,’ says the actor.’
    • ‘Sean Richardson in Sydney was in the Australian Regular Army 1986-1994, then bummed around the globe for a couple of years.’
    • ‘Upon graduating, she plans to defer college for a year and go abroad, not to study or even bum around Europe but to squat in an abandoned building in London, like a true punk.’
    • ‘Many years ago I spent the summer bumming around Greece.’
    • ‘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
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Pass one's time idly:
      ‘students bumming around at university’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Saturday I awoke at the crack of noon, bummed around the coffee shop for a couple hours, and then went to a friend's house to help him install a satellite dish…’
      • ‘After paying cash for the accessory, and helping Mum back to her car with the coffee machine, I bummed around Hornsby some more, waiting for Rick to finish work to go to the pub for a couple.’
      • ‘He walked over to a small arcade next, where he just played games and bummed around for a while.’
      • ‘Then I bummed around town for a while, having a really relaxing time drinking cold drinks and watching the people, and enjoying just sitting back and actually being in Canberra again.’
      • ‘I bummed around a bit, intending to go abroad but never really got together the cash.’
      • ‘I went to the City College of Art and bummed around in rock bands for most of my early 20s, even most of my late 20s.’
      • ‘I basically bum around the house until I have to come here.’
      • ‘Ten-year-olds don't bum around with sixteen year olds, especially not members of the opposite sex.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He'd landed the job by meeting a Canadian coterie at the Cannes festival, where he bummed around as a wannabe filmmaker, sleeping on the beach and sneaking into movies with a fake pass.’
      • ‘Today I had off, so I did some brief work in my office, then bummed around the library.’
      • ‘College always does that, except for the people who bum around here for the whole summer.’
      • ‘We bummed around town for a little bit and then stopped at another pub on the edge of the lake, and had a beer.’
      • ‘After lunch we continued the drive around the bays and then took Vicky and Sally back home, and then just came home ourselves and bummed around for the afternoon.’
      • ‘So find that medium between style and comfort because if you focus too much on style, you'll never want to or even be able to just bum around.’
      • ‘I refuse to pay your way as you bum around and ruin not only mine but also, and especially, your own life.’
      • ‘I became lazy, got into bad stuff, bummed around.’
      • ‘It's of growing up, you're not a kid, and you can't bum around anymore.’
      • ‘Warren now says that he bummed around until he was 27 and then fell into boxing by chance after lending money, twice, to a pal to promote unlicensed fights and when it didn't come back, stepped in to do it himself.’
  • 2[with object] Get by asking or begging:

    ‘they tried to bum quarters off us’
    • ‘There's also a terrasse, but be warned that you'll be a magnet for people bumming change.’
    • ‘Inside, Sophie says she's bummed a cigarette and we go out to the patio.’
    • ‘‘You haven't given off such feelings in a long time, Marek,’ Iliana said, bumming a smoke.’
    • ‘But is this really the best travel deal since bumming a ride - or just a painful reminder that you get what you pay for?’
    • ‘For Christ's sake, she'd gotten engaged, to the guy that was currently bumming a cigarette off of Robin.’
    • ‘I suddenly had nicotine craving though, and bummed a cigarette off Nikki.’
    • ‘He had the nicest car of any of my friends, which was why we were always bumming rides off of him.’
    • ‘Unlike that guy who sits in front of 7-11 every day, bumming cigarettes and asking for handouts, I go to work.’
    • ‘Security cameras capture me every day crossing streets, paying for my milk, kissing my girlfriend in an elevator, bumming a cigarette from a friend outside a building.’
    • ‘But he never stops scuffling, even when bumming a ride on the rails from Chicago to San Francisco.’
    • ‘Early next spring, Ramsey football players are expected to start a training program which will include eating Flintstone vitamins, tee-peeing Summit Avenue and bumming cigarettes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I bummed a lift up to Hornsby with Rick as a few of the SES guys were up there having a couple of quiet drinks.’
    • ‘The rock 'n' roll dream isn't only about sleeping on floors and continually bumming cigarettes.’
    • ‘She bummed a smoke off the bartender - Whitey the Roosk didn't like smoking, either - and off she went.’
    • ‘We took pictures, bummed cigarettes from other people in the crowd, and waited impatiently for the band to come on.’
    • ‘Some days I hung out with the jocks, some days I hung out with the burn-outs, and most days I hung out with no one, sort of flitting between groups, bumming a cigarette here and a ride there.’
    • ‘Asked what got them started, the girls both say spending time with friends who smoke and bumming an occasional cigarette.’
    scrounge, beg, borrow
    View synonyms

adjective

informal
  • [attributive] Of poor quality; bad or wrong:

    ‘not one bum note was played’
    • ‘The only thing I was thinking at the time was what a bloody bum deal I was getting.’
    • ‘Alec Townsend has possibly the best voice I have heard in an unsigned act with hardly a bum note or flat harmony within earshot.’
    • ‘The characters themselves are as solid as can be, with not one cast member hitting a bum note.’
    • ‘It was a bum note to end on but the pulsating finale should have left the fans hungry for more against Doncaster on Saturday.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Since Paul Harvey is not usually considered to be a purveyor of bum dope, I believe what he says about this balloon scheme.’
    • ‘If the band hit a bum note, they stop and start over.’
    • ‘Singing, playing instruments or dancing, there is not a bum note or misplaced foot from any of the actors all night.’
    • ‘It's utterly unnecessary and is the one bum note in an otherwise unusually good second outing for the characters.’
    • ‘Gee, I sure wouldn't want to be the intern responsible for that bum tip.’
    • ‘Not one bum track on this album and I was in heaven playing it.’
    • ‘Their vocal delivery was almost in key the whole time and there was nary a bum note squealing out of the amps.’
    • ‘Sure there's the odd glitch, bum note and flaw, but the sum makes for an extremely entertaining celebration of showbiz.’
    • ‘The songs will stand on their merits and flaws, but I enjoyed the first listen; Warren Ellis has never played a bum note.’
    • ‘There are a few bum notes in this collection though.’
    • ‘The handover is the occupation with a Quisling face and no matter what we say, opposition to it will only grow when they realize what a bum deal they're getting.’
    • ‘Well we all hit bum notes, no matter how good you are.’
    • ‘But really, the album kicks off on such a bum note that it's hard to imagine how the Rapture plan to get things back on track.’
    • ‘And play it with them, you'll be crying with laughter at every bum note!’
    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
    crummy, rotten, pathetic, useless, woeful, lousy, ropy, appalling, abysmal, pitiful, god-awful, dire, poxy, not up to snuff, the pits
    duff, chronic, rubbish
    crap, shit, chickenshit
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • give someone (or get) the bum's rush

    • 1informal Forcibly eject someone (or be forcibly ejected) from a place or gathering:

      ‘the bouncer gave me the bum's rush’
      • ‘Absolutely, no reason for all of us to get the bum's rush.’
      • ‘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.’’
      1. 1.1Abruptly dismiss someone (or be abruptly dismissed) for a poor idea or performance:
        ‘the President-elect is getting the bum's rush over the economy’
        • ‘Are Wolfowitz and Co. going to give McKiernan the bum's rush, too?’
        • ‘I agree that Crean got the bum's rush and he would have made a decent PM.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘No, instead, I wonder when Tubby will be given the bum's rush from the boards he sits on.’
        • ‘But the six-month leave turned out to be a permanent sacking and Mrs. F. gave him the bum's rush.’
        • ‘I'm wondering whether other conservatives agree that giving her the bum's rush for expressing her views on Michael Moore was over-the-top?’
        • ‘New Zealand's iconic five cent coin with the tuatara looks to be getting the bum's rush!’
        • ‘Either way, it's the public who are getting the bum's rush.’
  • on the bum

    • informal Travelling rough and with no fixed home; vagrant:

      ‘he continued to travel the country on the bum’
      • ‘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

    • Make someone feel annoyed, upset, or disappointed:

      ‘I was assigned the day shift, which bummed me out’
      • ‘But it's really bumming me out and affecting my life in ways I'm not happy with.’
      • ‘IHe's in a sour mood right now so I hope this doesn't bum him out too badly.’
      • ‘I've got to tell you something that may bum you out.’
      • ‘Hearing just moments ago that Tony died has REALLY bummed him out.’
      • ‘I wish I could say it comforted me, but scrolling past those dozens of kitty obituaries just bummed me out even more.’
      • ‘Powerful women whose insecurities drive them to hate on other powerful women bum me out.’
      • ‘I have to say if I was a Rays fan this trade would bum me out.’
      • ‘The ticket price bummed me out more than the fact he changed dates.’
      • ‘You don't like others to control you, so when your parents give you a list of chores, it bums you out!’
      • ‘Man, it bums me out that today is our last day together!’
      • ‘We wanted coffee, which seemed to bum him out.’
      irritate, vex, make angry, make cross, anger, exasperate, irk, gall, pique, put out, displease, get someone's back up, put someone's back up, antagonize, get on someone's nerves, rub up the wrong way, ruffle, ruffle someone's feathers, make someone's hackles rise, raise someone's hackles
      View synonyms

Origin

Mid 19th century: probably from bummer.

Pronunciation:

bum

/bʌm/

Main definitions of bum in English

: bum1bum2

bum2

noun

British
informal
  • A person's buttocks or anus:

    ‘if you sit there you'll get a cold bum’
    • ‘People ask how a guy like me, blessed with wispy hair that dances in the autumnal wind, three fine pairs of shoes and a wife with a pleasant round bum, can still be miserable and paranoid.’
    • ‘The class consists of a warm-up, 40 minutes of exercises for bums, tums and thighs, followed by a cool-down and stretching session.’
    • ‘After a couple of hours of hard work we sat in the shelter of the storage box on a bundle of wooden stakes to keep our bums from the cold wet ground, drinking lemonade and sharing a muesli bar, surveying our small slice of land.’
    • ‘The answer is that it is one thing to find bums for all those seats, quite another to sell the seats at profitable prices.’
    • ‘I tried to help out, trying to not seem all that selfish and let him do the work and all, but alas, he insisted on me just sitting on my lazy bum and watch him.’
    • ‘‘I'm a bit lazy and need a kick up the bum sometimes,’ he says.’
    • ‘Now, moving on to this afternoon's topic - it'll be of particular interest to you ladies who always worry ‘does my bum look big in this?’’
    • ‘My head had been cold, my bum has been cold and my feet (you've guessed it) have been cold!’
    • ‘Somehow in the process of laying back James kneed Jen in the bum and sent her rolling off the blanket and over onto the cold damp grass.’
    • ‘Why don't I get up off my lazy bum and be proactive, confess my undying love, or something!’
    • ‘She'd hardly got her bum on the seat and she'd be away again.’
    • ‘Two of the three theatres in the Kyogle Cinema show all the latest movies in comfort with thick seats (hate that sore bum thing) and cheap prices.’
    • ‘I can see myself now, sitting in a comfy chair at the nursing home, smiling sweetly at the male attendants… pinching their bums, should they dare to turn their backs on me.’
    • ‘Although many hands go up for committee service, often for self-promotion, there are unfortunately a big number who sit on bums doing sweet nothing to promote the committee or the organisation.’
    • ‘It's jazzed up with a French name and claims to restore your figure to the dimensions of a teenage gymnast, but basically, it's bum cream.’
    • ‘I've seen a few of these series on videotape advertised on TV recently and if I weren't so lazy I'd probably get of my fat bum and buy some.’
    • ‘Audiences here are pretty unmotivated to get off their bums.’
    • ‘Go figure, maybe it makes their bums look small.’
    • ‘Look for octopuses, barracuda, cuttlefish, and bare bums.’
    • ‘You wander up the corridor looking for a coffee machine and women turn round and stare, saying ‘Hmmmm nice bum!’’

Phrases

  • bums on seats

    • informal The audience at a theatre, cinema, or other entertainment, viewed as a source of income:

      ‘I've been offered lots of films just because the producers thought I would put bums on seats’
      • ‘It exists to do one thing - get the audience interested - and in order to do that it has to strike a delicate balance between giving away the best parts of the film and showing enough to get bums on seats.’
      • ‘In the States, the show was known as ‘Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam’ since the multi-millionaire mogul's brand name is guaranteed to put bums on seats over there.’
      • ‘You did have free events, although most of them were down south, but the point of a lot of these big raves was putting bums on seats.’
      • ‘It's very different from other festivals because it's not just based around big names and bums on seats.’
      • ‘The organisers of the festival hope to park 30,000 bums on seats for the 17-day gag-athon, starting on March 20.’
      • ‘If that is not enough incentive for more bums on seats at Meadowbank then the return of Ross to his home city certainly is; this is a man with a few points to prove, and maybe put on the scoreboard.’
      • ‘His own view, that such knowledge was not necessary to put bums on seats and expand the club's commercial activity, seemed plausible enough and the money-making ideas soon started to pour out.’
      • ‘If you're still getting massive audiences and selling records and putting bums on seats, you can't be all bad.’
      • ‘The American example shows us that what we need is a really serious boost to the population itself - more bums on seats, more contributors to the media economy, more warm bodies creating value.’
      • ‘His all-star cast may ensure a higher profile and more bums on seats in the multiplexes, but actors of the stature of Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck are not known for taking risks.’
      • ‘The marketing gimmick was putting bums on seats and selling more meals, said Suwondo, who for two weeks has decorated his canteen with banners and posters supporting the election of two candidates, Abdillah and Ramli.’
      • ‘‘I think you should also say to a writer, you can't be all things to all people, but in terms of bums on seats, disabled audiences will come to the theatre,’ Jenny reveals.’
      • ‘Market research showed that, while the venue's classical music events appealed to older people and acts such as The Singing Kettle put young bums on seats, there was little to attract those in their 20s and 30s.’
      • ‘But after a prolonged period of détente, artistic differences between the Fringe and the International festivals in Edinburgh are being put to one side in the interests of keeping bums on seats.’
      • ‘To get bums on seats, to get people watching the pro-teams, victory is what we need.’
      • ‘The BBC, with its duty to provide public service programmes that don't necessarily have mass appeal, has beaten a commercial network whose main focus is putting bums on seats.’
      • ‘He said: ‘I spent two days beforehand making sure we had many vociferous bums on seats.’’
      • ‘Corporate sponsors are great but ordinary bums on seats guarantee a regular income and help to create the mind of atmosphere that will encourage the team to ‘do business’ on the pitch.’
      • ‘All Festival directors probably derive more satisfaction from creative and challenging programming that, lo and behold, works than from merely filling up media inches or putting bums on seats.’
      • ‘If success for a television show is bums on seats, then Survivor beat Big Brother fair and square in this summer's ratings battle.’

Origin

Late Middle English: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation:

bum

/bʌm/