verb (used without object), bounced, bouncing.
to spring back from a surface in a lively manner: The ball bounced off the wall.
to strike the ground or other surface, and rebound: The ball bounced once before he caught it.
to move or walk in a lively, exuberant, or energetic manner: She bounced into the room.
to move along in a lively manner, repeatedly striking the surface below and rebounding: The box bounced down the stairs.
to move about or enter or leave noisily or angrily (followed by around, about, out, out of, into, etc.): He bounced out of the room in a huff.
(of a check or the like) to fail to be honored by the bank against which it was drawn, due to lack of sufficient funds.
verb (used with object), bounced, bouncing.
to cause to bound and rebound: to bounce a ball; to bounce a child on one's knee; to bounce a signal off a satellite.
to refuse payment on (a check) because of insufficient funds: The bank bounced my rent check.
to give (a bad check) as payment: That's the first time anyone bounced a check on me.
Slang. to eject, expel, or dismiss summarily or forcibly.
a bound or rebound: to catch a ball on the first bounce.
a sudden spring or leap: In one bounce he was at the door.
ability to rebound; resilience: This tennis ball has no more bounce.
vitality; energy; liveliness: There is bounce in his step. This soda water has more bounce to it.
the fluctuation in magnitude of target echoes on a radarscope.
Slang. a dismissal, rejection, or expulsion: He's gotten the bounce from three different jobs.
with a bounce; suddenly.
Verb phrases
bounce back, to recover quickly: After losing the first game of the double-header, the team bounced back to win the second.

1175–1225; Middle English buncin, bounsen, variant of bunkin, apparently cognate with Dutch bonken to thump, belabor, bonzen to knock, bump

bounceable, adjective
bounceably, adverb

14. animation, vivacity, life, spirit, pep, vigor, zip. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bounce (baʊns)
1.  (intr) (of an elastic object, such as a ball) to rebound from an impact
2.  (tr) to cause (such an object) to hit a solid surface and spring back
3.  to rebound or cause to rebound repeatedly
4.  to move or cause to move suddenly, excitedly, or violently; spring: she bounced up from her chair
5.  slang (of a bank) to send (a cheque) back or (of a cheque) to be sent back unredeemed because of lack of funds in the drawer's account
6.  (of an internet service provider) to send (an email message) back or (of an email message) to be sent back to the sender, for example because the recipient's email account is full
7.  slang (tr) to force (a person) to leave (a place or job); throw out; eject
8.  (Brit) (tr) to hustle (a person) into believing or doing something
9.  the action of rebounding from an impact
10.  a leap; jump; bound
11.  the quality of being able to rebound; springiness
12.  informal vitality; vigour; resilience
13.  (Brit) swagger or impudence
14.  informal a temporary increase or rise
15.  Australian rules football the bounce the start of play at the beginning of each quarter or after a goal
16.  informal (US) get the bounce, give the bounce to dismiss or be dismissed from a job
17.  informal on the bounce in succession; one after the other: they have lost nine games on the bounce
[C13: probably of imitative origin; compare Low German bunsen to beat, Dutch bonken to thump]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

early 13c., bounsen "to thump, hit," perhaps from Du. bonzen "to beat, thump," or Low Ger. bunsen, or onomatopoeic; sense probably influenced by bound (v.). Sense of "to bounce like a ball" is from 1510s; the rubber check sense is from 1927. Bouncing "vigorous, big" is from 1570s.

1520s, "a heavy blow," also "a leap, a rebound" from bounce (v.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

bounce definition

1. (Perhaps by analogy to a bouncing check) An electronic mail message that is undeliverable and returns an error notification (a "bounce message") to the sender is said to "bounce".
2. To play volleyball. The now-demolished D. C. Power Lab building used by the Stanford AI Lab in the 1970s had a volleyball court on the front lawn. From 5 PM to 7 PM was the scheduled maintenance time for the computer, so every afternoon at 5 would come over the intercom the cry: "Now hear this: bounce, bounce!", followed by Brian McCune loudly bouncing a volleyball on the floor outside the offices of known volleyballers.
3. To engage in sexual intercourse; probably from the expression "bouncing the mattress", but influenced by Roo's psychosexually loaded "Try bouncing me, Tigger!" from the "Winnie-the-Pooh" books.
Compare boink.
4. To casually reboot a system in order to clear up a transient problem. Reported primarily among VMS users.
5. (VM/CMS programmers) Automatic warm-start of a computer after an error. "I logged on this morning and found it had bounced 7 times during the night"
6. (IBM) To power cycle a peripheral in order to reset it.
[Jargon File]
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with bounce, also see get the ax (bounce); more bounce for the ounce; that's how the ball bounces.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Light models bounce on modest bumps in the ground, which leads to cross-cutting.
The role of friends in helping the boss bounce back is particularly important.
They made the switch because they wanted every basketball they use to feel and
  bounce the same.
Light that does make its way through the dense atmosphere is unlikely to bounce
  off the planet's surface and make it out again.
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