verb (used without object)

  1. to spring clear of the ground or other support by a sudden muscular effort; leap: to jump into the air; to jump out a window.
  2. to rise suddenly or quickly: He jumped from his seat when she entered.
  3. to move or jerk suddenly, as from surprise or shock: He jumped when the firecracker exploded.
  4. to obey quickly and energetically; hustle: The waiter was told to jump when the captain signaled.
  5. Informal. to be full of activity; bustle: The whole town is jumping with excitement.
  6. to start a campaign, program, military attack, etc.; launch an activity, especially of major proportions (usually followed by off): The march jumped off early in the morning.
  7. Checkers. to move from one side of an opponent’s piece to a vacant square on the opposite side, thus capturing the opponent’s piece.
  8. to rise suddenly in amount, price, etc.: Costs jumped again this quarter.
  9. to pass abruptly, ignoring intervening steps or deliberation: to jump to a conclusion.
  10. to change abruptly: The traffic light jumped from green to red.
  11. to move or change suddenly, haphazardly, aimlessly, or after a short period: He jumped from job to job.
  12. to pass or go aimlessly: He jumped from one thing to another without being able to concentrate on anything.
  13. to omit letters, numbers, etc.; skip: This typewriter jumps and needs repairing.
  14. to parachute from an airplane.
  15. to take eagerly; seize (often followed by at): He jumped at the offer of a free trip.
  16. to enter into something with vigor (usually followed by in or into): She jumped into the discussion right away.
  17. to advance rapidly from one level to another, especially in rank; pass through or skip intermediate stages in a forward or upward progression: He jumped from clerk to general manager in a year.
  18. Movies. (of a shot or frame) to fail to line up properly with the preceding or following frames because of a mechanical fault in the camera or projector.
  19. Bridge. to make a jump bid: She jumped from three clubs to four spades.
  20. Journalism. (of newspaper copy) to continue on a subsequent page, following intervening copy (opposed to turn).

verb (used with object)

  1. to leap or spring over: to jump a narrow stream.
  2. to cause to leap: She jumped the horse over the fence.
  3. to skip or pass over; bypass: to jump the third grade in school.
  4. to elevate or advance, especially in rank, by causing to skip or pass rapidly through intermediate stages: The boss jumped his son from mail clerk to plant manager.
  5. to move past or start before (a signal); anticipate: One car jumped the red light and collided with a truck.
  6. to increase sharply: The store jumped its prices.
  7. Checkers. to capture (an opponent’s piece) by leaping over.
  8. to attack or pounce upon without warning, as from ambush: The thugs jumped him in a dark alley.
  9. Bridge. to raise (the bid) by more than necessary to reach the next bidding level, especially as a signal to one’s partner.
  10. Informal.
    1. to abscond from; leave: The robbers jumped town.
    2. to flee or escape from.
  11. to seize or occupy illegally or forcibly (a mining claim or the like), as on the ground of some flaw in the holder’s title.
  12. (of trains, trolleys, etc.) to spring off or leave (the track).
  13. to get on board (a train, bus, etc.) quickly or with little planning or preparation for the trip: He jumped a plane for Chicago.
  14. Journalism. to continue (a story) from one page to another over intervening copy.
  15. Metalworking. to thicken (a bar or the like) by striking the end; upset (often followed by up).
  16. Slang: Vulgar. to engage in an act of coitus with.
  17. to connect (a dead battery) to a live battery by attaching booster cables between the respective terminals.


  1. an act or instance of jumping; leap.
  2. a space, obstacle, apparatus, or the like, cleared or to be cleared in a leap.
  3. a short or hurried journey.
  4. a descent by parachute from an airplane.
  5. a sudden rise in amount, price, etc.: a considerable jump in the stock market.
  6. a sudden upward or other movement of an inanimate object.
  7. an abrupt transition from one point or thing to another, with omission of what intervenes: The speaker made an unexplained jump in topic.
  8. a move or one of a series of moves: The gangster stayed one jump ahead of the police.
  9. Sports. any of several contests that feature a leap or jump.Compare broad jump, high jump.
  10. Movies. a break in the continuity of action due to a failure to match the action of one frame with the following one of the same scene.
  11. a sudden start as from nervous excitement: He gave a jump when the firecracker went off.
  12. Checkers. the act of taking an opponent’s piece by leaping over it to an unoccupied square.
  13. the jumps, Informal. restlessness; nervousness; anxiety.
  14. Also called breakover. Journalism. the part of a story continued on another page.
  15. Mathematics. the difference in limit values at a jump discontinuity of a given function.
  16. Automotive. jump-start(def 1).


  1. Jazz.
    1. of, relating to, or characteristic of swing.
    2. of, relating to, or characteristic of jazz; played at a bright tempo.


  1. Obsolete. exactly; precisely.

Verb Phrases

  1. jump on, to blame or rebuke; reprimand: He’ll jump on anyone who contradicts him.

  1. get/have the jump on, to get or have a head start or an initial advantage over: They got the jump on us in selling the item, but we finally caught up.
  2. jump aboard/on board, to join a group, activity, etc., especially one that has been operating or functioning for some time: After some hesitation, he jumped aboard and contributed heavily to the campaign.
  3. jump all over someone, to reprimand; criticize: You don’t have to jump all over me just because I’m a little late.
  4. jump bail. bail1(def 8).
  5. jump down someone’s throat. throat(def 12).
  6. jump in/into with both feet, to join or enter into exuberantly, eagerly, hastily, etc.
  7. jump ship. ship1(def 15).
  8. jump the gun. gun1(def 15).
  9. jump the shark. shark1(def 2).
  10. on the jump, in a hurry; running about: Lively youngsters keep their parents on the jump.


  1. (intr) to leap or spring clear of the ground or other surface by using the muscles in the legs and feet
  2. (tr) to leap over or clear (an obstacle)to jump a gap
  3. (tr) to cause to leap over an obstacleto jump a horse over a hedge
  4. (intr) to move or proceed hastily (into, onto, out of, etc)she jumped into a taxi and was off
  5. (tr) informal to board so as to travel illegally onhe jumped the train as it was leaving
  6. (intr) to parachute from an aircraft
  7. (intr) to jerk or start, as with astonishment, surprise, etcshe jumped when she heard the explosion
  8. to rise or cause to rise suddenly or abruptly
  9. to pass or skip over (intervening objects or matter)she jumped a few lines and then continued reading
  10. (intr) to change from one thing to another, esp from one subject to another
  11. (tr) to drill by means of a jumper
  12. (intr) (of a film)
    1. to have sections of a continuous sequence omitted, as through faulty cutting
    2. to flicker, as through faulty alignment of the film
  13. (tr) US to promote in rank, esp unexpectedly or to a higher rank than expected
  14. (tr) to start (a car) using jump leads
  15. draughts to capture (an opponent’s piece) by moving one of one’s own pieces over it to an unoccupied square
  16. (intr) bridge to bid in response to one’s partner at a higher level than is necessary, to indicate a strong hand
  17. (tr) to come off (a track, rail, etc)the locomotive jumped the rails
  18. (intr) (of the stylus of a record player) to be jerked out of the groove
  19. (intr) slang to be livelythe party was jumping when I arrived
  20. (tr) informal to attack without warningthieves jumped the old man as he walked through the park
  21. (tr) informal (of a driver or a motor vehicle) to pass through (a red traffic light) or move away from (traffic lights) before they change to green
  22. (tr) British slang (of a man) to have sexual intercourse with
  23. jump bail to forfeit one’s bail by failing to appear in court, esp by absconding
  24. jump down someone’s throat informal to address or reply to someone with unexpected sharpness
  25. jump ship to desert, esp to leave a ship in which one is legally bound to serve
  26. jump the queue See queue-jump
  27. jump to it informal to begin something quickly and efficiently


  1. an act or instance of jumping
  2. a space, distance, or obstacle to be jumped or that has been jumped
  3. a descent by parachute from an aircraft
  4. sport any of several contests involving a jumpthe high jump
  5. a sudden risethe jump in prices last month
  6. a sudden or abrupt transition
  7. a sudden jerk or involuntary muscular spasm, esp as a reaction of surprise
  8. a step or degreeone jump ahead
  9. draughts a move that captures an opponent’s piece by jumping over it
  10. films
    1. a break in continuity in the normal sequence of shots
    2. (as modifier)a jump cut
  11. computing another name for branch (def. 7)
  12. British slang an act of sexual intercourse
  13. on the jump informal, mainly US and Canadian
    1. in a hurry
    2. busy and energetic
  14. take a running jump British informal a contemptuous expression of dismissal

1550s, “act of jumping,” from jump (v.). Meaning “jazz music with a strong beat” first recorded 1937, in Count Basie’s “One O’Clock Jump.” Jump suit “one-piece coverall modeled on those worn by paratroopers and skydivers” is from 1948.


1520s, perhaps imitative (cf. bump); another theory derives it from words in Gallo-Romance dialects of southwestern France (cf. jumba “to rock, to balance, swing,” yumpa “to rock”), picked up during English occupation in Hundred Years War. Superseded native leap, bound, and spring in most senses. Meaning “to attack” is from 1789; that of “to do the sex act with” is from 1630s. Related: Jumped; jumping. To jump to a conclusion is from 1704. Jumping-rope is from 1805. Jump in a lake “go away and stop being a pest” attested from 1912.

In addition to the idioms beginning with jump

  • jump all over someone
  • jump at
  • jump bail
  • jump down someone’s throat
  • jump in
  • jump on
  • jump out of one’s skin
  • jump the gun
  • jump the track
  • jump through hoops
  • jump to a conclusion

also see:

  • get the drop (jump) on
  • go fly a kite (jump in the lake)
  • hop, skip and a jump
  • not know which way to jump
  • one jump ahead of
  • skip (jump) bail
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