Definition of bummer in US English:



  • 1a bummerA thing that is annoying or disappointing.

    ‘the party was a real bummer’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Anyway, my birthday last year was more of a bummer, because Rodney Dangerfield passed away.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sheesh, a bummer to be sure, but the show isn't just about despair, faulty canaries and premature death from lung cancer.’
    • ‘I thought it might have been 2004 that was a real bummer but it may just have been the age of 47.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At first, news of devastating global climate change might seem a bit of a bummer.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Potentially taking away the opportunity for emerging artists to show there is a real bummer.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And it might also be a bummer for recreational smokers.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘Having cracked, bubbly, sore skin on my hands was always a bit of a bummer, especially as a teenager.’
    • ‘Although it was certainly a bummer, she'd had an amazing experience, and now she has a fantastic video clip of herself singing.’
    • ‘The shoulder is a bummer for paddling, but the pain in the neck is especially a bummer since it is always there.’
    • ‘Unfortunately she has to work and then has class after work which is a bit of a bummer.’
    • ‘Yeah it's a bummer for a couple of days but I guess it doesn't reflect poorly on the rest of our lives.’
    • ‘They knew from their experience inside that war, that that war was a bummer.’
    • ‘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.’
    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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A good number of men now filling high places in the land have been, in their Californian days, bummers.’


  • Used to express frustration or disappointment, typically sympathetically.

    ‘You lost your wallet? Bummer!’
    • ‘The show was on fire, but no ride = bummer on that front.’
    • ‘On the one hand, bummer - it would have been nice to see the city looking hip and vibrant, instead of corrupt and decrepit.’
    • ‘Course, now the system checks with the dentist… bummer.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Right, I know some people think, bummer, but we've got to talk about this.’
    • ‘Miss modernage's part II of her Coachella / California trip… i never got the Polyphonic Spree orange trucker hat from the roadie, bummer.’
    • ‘I turned around, relieved and I said to myself loudly ‘Well, bummer, no psychologist.’’
    • ‘Uh… bummer about the wok, but I'm pleased that you handle it so well.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 site is all in frames so it's impossible to link to specific pages, bummer.’
    • ‘You're not allowed to keep them afterwards - bummer.’
    • ‘Glad you enjoyed Japan, bummer about the cold though.’
    • ‘Similarly embarrassing lyrics follow and the music melts into grating mediocrity nearing the end… bummer!’
    • ‘Can't wait to finish, but then bummer I won't have any more of it left.’
    • ‘Yeah, bummer about that, Aidis thought, wincing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I think my fave shot of La Nadine and Red Betty Black has been pulled down though - bummer.’
    • ‘Now i live with my girlfriend and work all day… bummer huh.’
    • ‘Sadly though the album is currently unavailable… double bummer.’


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