Definition of bummer in US English:



  • 1a bummerA thing that is annoying or disappointing.

    ‘the party was a real bummer’
    • ‘He can't see my favorite color which is a bummer, but it's better than the ex-boyfriend who was allergic to many of my favorite foods (shrimp, clam chowder).’
    • ‘Anyway, my birthday last year was more of a bummer, because Rodney Dangerfield passed away.’
    • ‘Although they are more prone to slip down, slippage is often not a problem with carbon posts, but it is a bummer if it happens to you.’
    • ‘I thought it might have been 2004 that was a real bummer but it may just have been the age of 47.’
    • ‘The shoulder is a bummer for paddling, but the pain in the neck is especially a bummer since it is always there.’
    • ‘Having cracked, bubbly, sore skin on my hands was always a bit of a bummer, especially as a teenager.’
    • ‘At first, news of devastating global climate change might seem a bit of a bummer.’
    • ‘And it might also be a bummer for recreational smokers.’
    • ‘They knew from their experience inside that war, that that war was a bummer.’
    • ‘Unfortunately she has to work and then has class after work which is a bit of a bummer.’
    • ‘Potentially taking away the opportunity for emerging artists to show there is a real bummer.’
    • ‘Although it was certainly a bummer, she'd had an amazing experience, and now she has a fantastic video clip of herself singing.’
    • ‘By Spears' standards, the year to date has been a bummer.’
    • ‘One of the reasons I signed on is because I wanted to work with Frankenheimer, so it's a real bummer he's not doing it.’
    • ‘It's a bummer when talented people endeavour to do something artistically challenging, only to have the end result not live up to the promise.’
    • ‘Yeah it's a bummer for a couple of days but I guess it doesn't reflect poorly on the rest of our lives.’
    • ‘While generally speaking that's a very good thing indeed, it's a bummer when your personal fortune is placed at the mercy of somebody's greed.’
    • ‘Sheesh, a bummer to be sure, but the show isn't just about despair, faulty canaries and premature death from lung cancer.’
    • ‘Think about what a bummer it would be if after these autobiographies were finished (I think there are supposed to be three volumes) we understood and knew everything about Bob Dylan.’
    • ‘It's a bit of a bummer - we've had a full time crew out canvassing, full time in this constituency for a month now.’
    disaster, calamity, catastrophe, cataclysm, devastation, misfortune, misadventure, mishap, reverse, vicissitude, setback, trial, tribulation, affliction, blight, injury, adversity, sad event, serious accident
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    1. 1.1 An unpleasant reaction to a hallucinogenic drug.
      • ‘Bufotenine is universally regarded in the drug subculture as the ‘ultimate bummer’.’
      • ‘There are numerous hallucinogenic drugs that result in a ‘bad trip’ (or ‘bummer’).’
      • ‘You can never be sure that the next one won't be a frightening bummer.’
  • 2North American A loafer or vagrant.

    • ‘A good number of men now filling high places in the land have been, in their Californian days, bummers.’
    • ‘The swagman loafer, or ‘bummer,’ times himself, especially in bad weather, to arrive at the shed just about sundown.’
    • ‘Getting stung by a jellyfish is among summer's beach bummers.’
    • ‘The bill would allow the impecunious tramp, corner loafer, pimp and saloon bummer, who have no interests at stake, to go to the polls and make their voices heard.’
    • ‘You don't want people around you that are just bummers and hate what they are doing or you don't want people around you that are not very good at what they are doing.’


  • Used to express frustration or disappointment, typically sympathetically.

    ‘You lost your wallet? Bummer!’
    • ‘Can't wait to finish, but then bummer I won't have any more of it left.’
    • ‘The funny thing was, though, when we were checking around for a place to make the DVD, the only place that we could find that was available was the House of Blues, so we were like, bummer.’
    • ‘Now i live with my girlfriend and work all day… bummer huh.’
    • ‘You're not allowed to keep them afterwards - bummer.’
    • ‘Yeah, bummer about that, Aidis thought, wincing.’
    • ‘Course, now the system checks with the dentist… bummer.’
    • ‘I think my fave shot of La Nadine and Red Betty Black has been pulled down though - bummer.’
    • ‘Uh… bummer about the wok, but I'm pleased that you handle it so well.’
    • ‘Sadly though the album is currently unavailable… double bummer.’
    • ‘Right, I know some people think, bummer, but we've got to talk about this.’
    • ‘Similarly embarrassing lyrics follow and the music melts into grating mediocrity nearing the end… bummer!’
    • ‘Joanna Chilcoat, 17, plays Ellen (second from left), a singer/actress who's so unpopular that she had to beg her brother to be her prom date - bummer!’
    • ‘The show was on fire, but no ride = bummer on that front.’
    • ‘Glad you enjoyed Japan, bummer about the cold though.’
    • ‘Miss modernage's part II of her Coachella / California trip… i never got the Polyphonic Spree orange trucker hat from the roadie, bummer.’
    • ‘Got all my textbooks today too - gonna be carting around half a ton on my back every day - most of my classes require the textbooks to be brought to class - bummer.’
    • ‘The class was cancelled - bummer, I know - but I went for a little run, and felt happy to back in the land of the exercising.’
    • ‘I turned around, relieved and I said to myself loudly ‘Well, bummer, no psychologist.’’
    • ‘On the one hand, bummer - it would have been nice to see the city looking hip and vibrant, instead of corrupt and decrepit.’
    • ‘The site is all in frames so it's impossible to link to specific pages, bummer.’


Mid 19th century: perhaps from German Bummler, from bummeln ‘stroll, loaf about’.