Main definitions of bum in English

: bum1bum2

bum1

noun

North american
informal
  • 1A vagrant.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So we dressed up for Halloween as gypsies and bums and hobos (the latter two later known as The Homeless) and other stereotypical costumes.’
    • ‘Even the gang members are perfect, sipping beers in their cheap, showy suits against a background teeming with transients and bums.’
    • ‘You're not condemned to a life of rolling down the window and asking bums for directions.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘Only haggards, bums, and barflies wandered the streets this late.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘Abroad, the cultural influence has been vast, from The Beachcombers' Relic, to rappers, bums and crooks the world over.’
    • ‘If you think about it, living life as a bum, hobo, or a transient is pretty extreme.’
    • ‘Chuckling with maniacal glee the old bum loosened the rope that held up his voluminous, beggared trousers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In response, he created Bowery Derelicts - a group of drunken bums, inspired by people he saw every day across from his apartment.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Not that I've never seen Asian bums and drunks and beggars sprawled out on the street.’
    • ‘After the great stock market crash, all the rich gentleman were reduced to bums and hobos.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What do a down-and-out bum and a publishing house employee have in common?’
    vagrant, vagabond, homeless person, derelict, down-and-out
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A lazy or worthless person.
      ‘you ungrateful bum’
      • ‘I make no apologies for being a lazy, unfocused bum who fritters away opportunities.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He opened his bedroom door and we all went in, then being the lazy bums we were, we slept half the day away.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His family and friends disown him as a wastrel and a bum.’
      • ‘Anzuko laughed, ‘And Kenji grew up to be a real lazy bum who couldn't even string a bow.’’
      • ‘Im such a lazy bum and I don't spell check the chapters.’
      • ‘Buck didn't reply right away, he had always been called a loser, a misfit, or a bum.’
      • ‘Because you are the laziest, most good-for-nothing bums, collection of bums, I've seen in a long time.’
      • ‘Although she had her own money, she wasn't going to support a lazy bum that had no job or career.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘That I knew she wasn't the lazy bum she wanted everyone to think.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This multi-talented filmmaker makes jacks-of-all-trades like Robert Rodriguez and Steven Soderbergh seem like lazy bums.’
      • ‘I would really like to thank each and every one of you personally, but I'm a lazy bum.’
  • 2[in combination] A person who devotes a great deal of time to a specified activity.

    ‘a ski bum’
    ‘a poker bum’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Today, however, closer to sea level, Burt looks pretty much like every other dirtbag ski bum in the area.’
    • ‘Telluride icon and professional ski bum Captain Jack Carey has long symbolized the quintessential adventurer in all of us.’
    • ‘It's heavy and warm, with a waterproof exterior, so it might be useful for gadget-toting ski bums, bicyclists, and hikers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So Laurie set out for Park City, UT, taught Spanish in an elementary school, and became a ski bum.’
    • ‘A former ski bum, Balint, 64, has worked on Jackson Hole's legendary patrol for nearly a quarter century.’
    • ‘Growling in from left is Warren Miller, the puckish godfather of extreme-ski cinema and our nation's original ski bum.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I mean, my dad is in his sixties, rides motorcycles and is still a ski bum.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Part of me wants to go back to Park City and be 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.’
    • ‘And now they're still ski bums, says somebody out there.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I spent some time as an over educated ski bum and I traveled a lot before I settled down.’
    • ‘Ski bums live in tents, car parks, bus stations, dog houses, whatever shelter than can find that can keep them skiing Fernie every day.’
    • ‘That, and the absence of crowds, has turned Monterosa into a cult destination for alpine ski bums.’

verb

informal
  • 1[no object] Travel, with no particular purpose or destination.

    ‘he bummed around Florida for a few months’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I'm currently in Dublin just bumming around, sorting stuff out, but the clock is ticking.’
    • ‘‘He got cancer when I was spending a year in America just bumming around,’ says the actor.’
    • ‘Many years ago I spent the summer bumming around Greece.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He spent 15 years bumming around Canada working on trucks, ships and at mines.’
    • ‘After college, Steve bummed around Europe on the Railpass junket for a few months.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I mean, sure, I'd like a guy to bum around this wacky planet with, but it's no big deal.’
    • ‘Find someone to watch the dog and there you are, bumming around the Continent with your buddy.’
    • ‘Sean Richardson in Sydney was in the Australian Regular Army 1986-1994, then bummed around the globe for a couple of years.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Over lunch with John M today the idea of bumming around the world came up.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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. 1.1Pass one's time idly.
      ‘we spent most of the summer just bumming around’
      • ‘Ten-year-olds don't bum around with sixteen year olds, especially not members of the opposite sex.’
      • ‘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 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'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.’
      • ‘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 basically bum around the house until I have to come here.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘College always does that, except for the people who bum around here for the whole summer.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I bummed around a bit, intending to go abroad but never really got together the cash.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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…’
      • ‘It's of growing up, you're not a kid, and you can't bum around anymore.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He walked over to a small arcade next, where he just played games and bummed around for a while.’
      • ‘Today I had off, so I did some brief work in my office, then bummed around the library.’
      • ‘We bummed around town for a little bit and then stopped at another pub on the edge of the lake, and had a beer.’
  • 2[with object] Get by asking or begging.

    ‘they tried to bum money off us’
    • ‘Unlike that guy who sits in front of 7-11 every day, bumming cigarettes and asking for handouts, I go to work.’
    • ‘We took pictures, bummed cigarettes from other people in the crowd, and waited impatiently for the band to come on.’
    • ‘I suddenly had nicotine craving though, and bummed a cigarette off Nikki.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘You haven't given off such feelings in a long time, Marek,’ Iliana said, bumming a smoke.’
    • ‘He had the nicest car of any of my friends, which was why we were always bumming rides off of him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For Christ's sake, she'd gotten engaged, to the guy that was currently bumming a cigarette off of Robin.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Inside, Sophie says she's bummed a cigarette and we go out to the patio.’
    • ‘There's also a terrasse, but be warned that you'll be a magnet for people bumming change.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But he never stops scuffling, even when bumming a ride on the rails from Chicago to San Francisco.’
    • ‘Asked what got them started, the girls both say spending time with friends who smoke and bumming an occasional cigarette.’
    • ‘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 is this really the best travel deal since bumming a ride - or just a painful reminder that you get what you pay for?’
    scrounge, beg, borrow
    View synonyms

adjective

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

    ‘not one bum note was played’
    • ‘Sure there's the odd glitch, bum note and flaw, but the sum makes for an extremely entertaining celebration of showbiz.’
    • ‘There are a few bum notes in this collection though.’
    • ‘The songs will stand on their merits and flaws, but I enjoyed the first listen; Warren Ellis has never played a bum note.’
    • ‘And if you do come and see us live, sorry for the mucked up intros, the bum notes.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘It was a bum note to end on but the pulsating finale should have left the fans hungry for more against Doncaster on Saturday.’
    • ‘Gee, I sure wouldn't want to be the intern responsible for that bum tip.’
    • ‘If the band hit a bum note, they stop and start over.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Alec Townsend has possibly the best voice I have heard in an unsigned act with hardly a bum note or flat harmony within earshot.’
    • ‘Singing, playing instruments or dancing, there is not a bum note or misplaced foot from any of the actors all night.’
    • ‘Well we all hit bum notes, no matter how good you are.’
    • ‘The only thing I was thinking at the time was what a bloody bum deal I was getting.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Their vocal delivery was almost in key the whole time and there was nary a bum note squealing out of the amps.’
    • ‘Not one bum track on this album and I was in heaven playing it.’
    • ‘It's utterly unnecessary and is the one bum note in an otherwise unusually good second outing for the characters.’
    • ‘Since Paul Harvey is not usually considered to be a purveyor of bum dope, I believe what he says about this balloon scheme.’
    • ‘The characters themselves are as solid as can be, with not one cast member hitting a 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.

      • ‘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.’
      1. 1.1Abruptly dismiss someone (or be abruptly dismissed) for a poor idea or performance.
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘New Zealand's iconic five cent coin with the tuatara looks to be getting the bum's rush!’
        • ‘Are Wolfowitz and Co. going to give McKiernan the bum's rush, too?’
        • ‘Either way, it's the public who are getting the bum's rush.’
        • ‘I agree that Crean got the bum's rush and he would have made a decent PM.’
        • ‘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?’
        • ‘But the six-month leave turned out to be a permanent sacking and Mrs. F. gave him the bum's rush.’
  • on the bum

    • informal Traveling with rough provisions and with no fixed home; living as a vagrant.

      • ‘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…’
  • bum someone out

    • informal Make someone feel annoyed, upset, or disappointed.

      ‘it really bummed me out when he forgot my birthday’
      • ‘IHe's in a sour mood right now so I hope this doesn't bum him out too badly.’
      • ‘You don't like others to control you, so when your parents give you a list of chores, it bums you out!’
      • ‘Hearing just moments ago that Tony died has REALLY bummed him out.’
      • ‘I have to say if I was a Rays fan this trade would bum me out.’
      • ‘Powerful women whose insecurities drive them to hate on other powerful women bum me out.’
      • ‘The ticket price bummed me out more than the fact he changed dates.’
      • ‘I've got to tell you something that may bum you out.’
      • ‘Man, it bums me out that today is our last day together!’
      • ‘We wanted coffee, which seemed to bum him out.’
      • ‘But it's really bumming me out and affecting my life in ways I'm not happy with.’
      • ‘I wish I could say it comforted me, but scrolling past those dozens of kitty obituaries just bummed me out even more.’
      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

/bəm/

Main definitions of bum in English

: bum1bum2

bum2

noun

British
informal
  • Buttocks.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The answer is that it is one thing to find bums for all those seats, quite another to sell the seats at profitable prices.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘Audiences here are pretty unmotivated to get off their bums.’
    • ‘‘I'm a bit lazy and need a kick up the bum sometimes,’ he says.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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!’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The class consists of a warm-up, 40 minutes of exercises for bums, tums and thighs, followed by a cool-down and stretching session.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘Go figure, maybe it makes their bums look small.’
    • ‘She'd hardly got her bum on the seat and she'd be away again.’

Origin

Late Middle English: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation:

bum

/bəm/