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[stuhmp] /stʌmp/
the lower end of a tree or plant left after the main part falls or is cut off; a standing tree trunk from which the upper part and branches have been removed.
the part of a limb of the body remaining after the rest has been cut off.
a part of a broken or decayed tooth left in the gum.
a short remnant, as of a candle; stub.
any basal part remaining after the main or more important part has been removed.
an artificial leg.
Usually, stumps. Informal. legs:
Stir your stumps and get out of here.
a short, stocky person.
a heavy step or gait, as of a wooden-legged or lame person.
the figurative place of political speechmaking:
to go on the stump.
Furniture. a support for the front end of the arm of a chair, sofa, etc.
Compare post1 (def 2).
a short, thick roll of paper, soft leather, or some similar material, usually having a blunt point, for rubbing a pencil, charcoal, or crayon drawing in order to achieve subtle gradations of tone in representing light and shade.
Cricket. each of the three upright sticks that, with the two bails laid on top of them, form a wicket.
verb (used with object)
to reduce to a stump; truncate; lop.
to clear of stumps, as land.
Chiefly Southern U.S. to stub, as one's toe.
to nonplus, embarrass, or render completely at a loss:
This riddle stumps me.
to challenge or dare to do something.
to make political campaign speeches to or in:
to stump a state.
Cricket. (of the wicketkeeper) to put (a batsman) out by knocking down a stump or by dislodging a bail with the ball held in the hand at a moment when the batsman is off his ground.
to tone or modify (a crayon drawing, pencil rendering, etc.) by means of a stump.
verb (used without object)
to walk heavily or clumsily, as if with a wooden leg:
The captain stumped across the deck.
to make political campaign speeches; electioneer.
up a stump, Informal. at a loss; embarrassed; perplexed:
Sociologists are up a stump over the sharp rise in juvenile delinquency and crime.
Origin of stump
1200-50; (noun) Middle English stompe, cognate with or < Middle Low German stump(e), Middle Dutch stomp (compare German Stumpf); (v.) Middle English stumpen to stumble (as over a stump), derivative of the noun
Related forms
stumpless, adjective
stumplike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for stumps
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Found on stumps and roots from September till the coming of frost.

  • stumps stood and decayed, just as they do in our forests to-day.

    Diggers in the Earth Eva March Tappan
  • Many were the sermons he delivered to the cattle, stumps and trees, while going the rounds of his daily labor.

    The Lumberjack Sky Pilot Thomas D. Whittles
  • "I don't see how they can make fences of stumps," said Marco.

    Forests of Maine Jacob S. Abbott
  • But each year antelope sheds the outer part—the point and sheath—of the horn, retaining the stubs or stumps which grow new horns.

    Watched by Wild Animals Enos A. Mills
  • The timbers are also, as a rule, very hard, and the stumps will not rot out.

    Fruits of Queensland Albert Benson
  • She is a brig, as we discover by the stumps of her two masts, and we do not doubt the very vessel of which we have lately heard.

    The Cruise of the Mary Rose William H. G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for stumps


the base part of a tree trunk left standing after the tree has been felled or has fallen
the part of something, such as a tooth, limb, or blade, that remains after a larger part has been removed
(informal, facetious)
  1. (often pl) a leg
  2. stir one's stumps, to move or become active
(cricket) any of three upright wooden sticks that, with two bails laid across them, form a wicket (the stumps)
Also called tortillon. a short sharply-pointed stick of cork or rolled paper or leather, used in drawing and shading
a heavy tread or the sound of heavy footsteps
a platform used by an orator when addressing a meeting
(often pl) (Austral) a pile used to support a house
(mainly US & Canadian) on the stump, engaged in campaigning, esp by political speech-making
(transitive) to stop, confuse, or puzzle
(intransitive) to plod or trudge heavily
(transitive) (cricket) (of a fielder, esp a wicketkeeper) to dismiss (a batsman) by breaking his wicket with the ball or with the ball in the hand while he is out of his crease
(mainly US & Canadian) to campaign or canvass (an area), esp by political speech-making
(transitive) to reduce to a stump; lop
(transitive) to clear (land) of stumps
Derived Forms
stumper, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Middle Low German stump; related to Dutch stomp, German Stumpf; see stamp
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 stumps



mid-14c., "remaining part of a severed arm or leg," from or cognate with Middle Low German stump (from adjective meaning "mutilated, blunt, dull"), Middle Dutch stomp "stump," from Proto-Germanic *stump- (cf. Old Norse stumpr, Old High German and German stumpf "stump," German Stummel "piece cut off"), perhaps related to the root of stub or stamp, but the connection in each case presents difficulties.

Earliest form of the word in English is a now-obsolete verb meaning "to stumble over a tree-stump or other obstacle," attested from mid-13c. Meaning "part of a tree trunk left in the ground after felling" is from mid-15c. Sense of "walk clumsily" is first recorded c.1600; that of "baffle" is first recorded 1807, perhaps in reference to plowing newly cleared land.


"to go on a speaking tour during a political campaign," 1838, American English, from phrase stump speech (1820), from stump (n.), large tree stumps being a natural perch for rural orators (this custom is attested from 1775).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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stumps in Medicine

stump (stŭmp)

  1. The extremity of a limb left after amputation.

  2. The pedicle remaining after removal of the tumor to which it was attached.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for stumps



  1. To baffle; perplex; nonplus: The problem's got me stumped (1807+)
  2. To make speeches, esp on a political tour: The candidate is stumping today in Illinois (1838+)
  3. A telephone or other wire-carrying pole (1940s+ Line repairers)

[first sense fr the notion of being blocked by stumps in one's way; second sense fr standing up on a stump to make a speech]



To be arrested; fall (1950s+ Underworld)

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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