on the bum

bum

1 [buhm]
noun
1.
a person who avoids work and sponges on others; loafer; idler.
2.
a tramp, hobo, or derelict.
3.
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.
4.
Informal. an incompetent person.
5.
a drunken orgy; debauch.
verb (used with object), bummed, bumming.
6.
Informal. to borrow without expectation of returning; get for nothing; cadge: He's always bumming cigarettes from me.
7.
Slang. to ruin or spoil: The weather bummed our whole weekend.
verb (used without object), bummed, bumming.
8.
to sponge on others for a living; lead an idle or dissolute life.
9.
to live as a hobo.
adjective, bummer, bummest. Slang.
10.
of poor, wretched, or miserable quality; worthless.
11.
disappointing; unpleasant.
12.
erroneous or ill-advised; misleading: That tip on the stock market was a bum steer.
13.
lame: a bum leg.
Verb phrases
14.
bum around, Informal. to travel, wander, or spend one's time aimlessly: We bummed around for a couple of hours after work.
Idioms
15.
bum (someone) out, Slang. to disappoint, upset, or annoy: It really bummed me out that she could have helped and didn't.
16.
on the bum, Informal.
a.
living or traveling as or in a manner suggesting that of a hobo or tramp.
b.
in a state of disrepair or disorder: The oven is on the bum again.

Origin:
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
bum1 (bʌm)
 
n
slang (Brit) the buttocks or anus
 
[C14: of uncertain origin]

bum2 (bʌm)
 
n
1.  a disreputable loafer or idler
2.  a tramp; hobo
3.  an irresponsible, unpleasant, or mean person
4.  a person who spends a great deal of time on a specified sport: baseball bum
5.  on the bum
 a.  living as a loafer or vagrant
 b.  out of repair; broken
 
vb (often foll by around) (usually foll by around) , bums, bumming, bummed
6.  (tr) to get by begging; cadge: to bum a lift
7.  to live by begging or as a vagrant or loafer
8.  to spend time to no good purpose; loaf; idle
9.  slang (US), (Canadian) bum someone off to disappoint, annoy, or upset someone
 
adj
10.  (prenominal) of poor quality; useless
11.  wrong or inappropriate: a bum note
 
[C19: probably shortened from earlier bummer a loafer, probably from German bummeln to loaf]

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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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

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

bum
"dissolute loafer, tramp," 1864, Amer.Eng., from bummer "loafer, idle person" (1855), possibly an extension of the British word for "backside" (similar development took place in Scotland, 1540), but more prob. from Ger. slang bummler "loafer," from bummeln "go slowly, waste time." Bum first appears in
a Ger.-Amer. context, and bummer was popular in the slang of the North's army in Amer. Civil War (as many as 216,000 Ger. immigrants in the ranks). Bum's rush "forcible ejection" first recorded 1910. Bummer "bad experience" is 1960s slang.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

on the bum

see under on the blink.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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