"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[buhm-er] /ˈbʌm ər/
noun, Slang.
a person who bums.
Origin of bummer1
1850-55, Americanism; probably < German Bummler, derivative with -er -er1 of bummeln ‘to take a stroll, dawdle, loiter’ (expressive v. of uncertain origin)


[buhm-er] /ˈbʌm ər/ Slang.
the unpleasant aftermath of taking narcotic drugs, especially frightening hallucinations or unpleasant physical sensations.
any unpleasant or disappointing experience:
That concert was a real bummer.
(used to express disappointment, frustration, or the like):
Looks like we're having a test tomorrow—bummer!
1965-70; apparently bum1 (adj. sense) + -er1


[buhm] /bʌm/
a person who avoids work and sponges on others; loafer; idler.
a tramp, hobo, or derelict.
Informal. an enthusiast of a specific sport or recreational activity, especially one who gives it priority over work, family life, etc.:
a ski bum; a tennis bum.
Informal. an incompetent person.
a drunken orgy; debauch.
verb (used with object), bummed, bumming.
Informal. to borrow without expectation of returning; get for nothing; cadge:
He's always bumming cigarettes from me.
Slang. to ruin or spoil:
The weather bummed our whole weekend.
verb (used without object), bummed, bumming.
to sponge on others for a living; lead an idle or dissolute life.
to live as a hobo.
adjective, bummer, bummest. Slang.
of poor, wretched, or miserable quality; worthless.
disappointing; unpleasant.
erroneous or ill-advised; misleading:
That tip on the stock market was a bum steer.
a bum leg.
Verb phrases
bum around, Informal. to travel, wander, or spend one's time aimlessly:
We bummed around for a couple of hours after work.
bum (someone) out, Slang. to disappoint, upset, or annoy:
It really bummed me out that she could have helped and didn't.
on the bum, Informal.
  1. living or traveling as or in a manner suggesting that of a hobo or tramp.
  2. in a state of disrepair or disorder:
    The oven is on the bum again.
1860-65, Americanism; perhaps shortening of or back formation from bummer1; adj. senses of unclear relation to sense “loafer” and perhaps of distinct orig.
2. vagabond, vagrant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bummer
  • Cycling is a bummer for riders who don't have the option to change clothes post-commute.
  • Often, stores are crowded and streets are full of people, so heels or an uncomfortable pair of jeans can be a bummer.
  • Which brings us back to the environment, the bummer indicator to end all bummer indicators.
  • On top of all this, they did not exactly need their art to be a bummer too.
  • When you're trying to squeeze every second of your weekend, it's a huge bummer.
  • The third one is followed up by a full life in prison oh what a bummer.
  • That's a bummer, but other than that, it's served me well.
  • That's always a bummer on a press trip to a beach community that likes to brag about the great weather.
British Dictionary definitions for bummer


noun (slang)
an unpleasant or disappointing experience
(mainly US) a vagrant or idler
an adverse reaction to a drug, characterized by panic or fear


(Brit, slang) the buttocks or anus
Word Origin
C14: of uncertain origin


a disreputable loafer or idler
a tramp; hobo
an irresponsible, unpleasant, or mean person
a person who spends a great deal of time on a specified sport: baseball bum
on the bum
  1. living as a loafer or vagrant
  2. out of repair; broken
verb bums, bumming, bummed
(transitive) to get by begging; cadge: to bum a lift
(intransitive) often foll by around. to live by begging or as a vagrant or loafer
(intransitive) usually foll by around. to spend time to no good purpose; loaf; idle
(US & Canadian, slang) bum someone off, to disappoint, annoy, or upset someone
(prenominal) of poor quality; useless
wrong or inappropriate: a bum note
Word Origin
C19: probably shortened from earlier bummer a loafer, probably from German bummeln to loaf
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bummer

"loafer, idle person," 1855, possibly an extension of the British word for "backside" (similar development took place in Scotland by 1540), but more probably from German slang bummler "loafer," agent noun from bummeln "go slowly, waste time."

According to Kluge, the German word is from 17c., and the earliest sense of it is "oscillate back and forth;" possibly connected to words in German for "dangle" (baumeln), via "back-and-forth motion" of a bell clapper, transferred to "going back and forth," hence "doing nothing." Meaning "bad experience" is 1968 slang.



"buttocks," late 14c., "probably onomatopœic, to be compared with other words of similar sound and with the general sense of 'protuberance, swelling.' " [OED]

"dissolute loafer, tramp," 1864, American English, from bummer "loafer, idle person" (1855), probably from German slang bummler "loafer," from bummeln "go slowly, waste time." Bum first appears in a German-American context, and bummer was popular in the slang of the North's army in the American Civil War (as many as 216,000 German immigrants in the ranks). Bum's rush "forcible ejection" first recorded 1910.


1863, "to loaf and beg," American English, a word from the Civil War, perhaps a back-formation from bummer "loafer," or from bum (n.). Meaning "to feel depressed" is from 1973, perhaps from bummer in the "bad experience" sense. Related: Bummed; bumming.


"of poor quality," 1859, American English, from bum (n.). Bum steer in figurative sense of "bad advice" attested from 1901.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bummer



An exclamation of dismay: Ms. Riner is too docile, too scared, too unsexy for the role, and— bummer!—there seems to be a real possibility that she's innocent


: Zonk is rushed to the Woodstock bummer tent

  1. bum1: an old bummer named Rumson (1855+)
  2. An unpleasant or depressing experience with a narcotic, esp with LSD; bad trip (1960s+ Narcotics)
  3. Any bad experience or occasion; bad situation or place: May 17—Trip was a bummer. Instead of being off by ourselves, we met another couple (1960s+ Counterculture)

[first noun sense probably fr German Bummler, ''loafer'']

bum 1

  1. Inferior; defective; lousy: That's a real bum notion you have there (1850s+)
  2. : I told a bum story first/ He just didn't want me to think he had a car with a bum clutch (1859+)
  1. A person who seldom works, seldom stays in one place, and survives by begging and petty theft; vagrant; drifter, hobo (1860s+)
  2. A promiscuous woman, esp a cheap prostitute: picking up bums in public dance halls (1930+)
  3. Any male who is disliked by the speaker, esp for lack of energy, direction, or talent •Often used of inept or despised athletes: The bum strikes out three times in a row (1920+)
  4. A person who lives or tries to live by his or her sports talent and charm, usually without being genuinely professional: Developed by volleyball bums who hated the regimentation of the indoor game (1950s+)
  5. An inferior animal, breed, racehorse, etc (1930+)
  6. Anything inferior or ineffectual: Money is a bum, a no-good bum (1950s+)
  1. To live as a tramp, drifter, etc: It wasn't easy bumming that winter/ He bummed for a couple of years, then got a job (1860s+)
  2. To beg or borrow; cadge: A schooner can be grafted if you're fierce at bumming (1850s+)
  3. (also bum one's way, bum a ride) To hitchhike: They bummed all the way to Alaska (1920s+)
  4. To deceive; victimize: Anyone who's seen this halfbaked ode to mixed marital relations realizes that the star has been bummed into a bit role (1960s+)
  5. To improve something, esp by exploiting its full potential or rearranging its parts: I bummed the whole program to show up all possible mistakes (Computer)
  6. (also bum out) To become depressed, discouraged, or irritated: You don't want to pull off the information superhighway because you're already dialed into an on-line service. Don't bum (1960s+)
Related Terms

beach bum, crumb-bun, skid row bum, stewbum, stumblebum

[probably fr German Bummler, ''loafer'']

bum 2


The buttocks or anus; ass •More common in British usage: after getting a shot of something in her bum

[late 1300s+; fr Middle English ''anus'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with bummer
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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