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From Middle English bunsen (to beat, thump), perhaps imitative[1]. Compare Low German bunsen (to beat), Dutch bonzen (to thump, knock, throb), and akin to bonken (to bang, smash), and possibly English bang.


  • enPR: bouns, IPA(key): /baʊns/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aʊns


bounce (third-person singular simple present bounces, present participle bouncing, simple past and past participle bounced)

  1. (intransitive) To change the direction of motion after hitting an obstacle.
    The tennis ball bounced off the wall before coming to rest in the ditch.
  2. (intransitive) To move quickly up and then down, or vice versa, once or repeatedly.
    He bounces nervously on his chair.
    • 2012 May 13, Alistair Magowan, “Sunderland 0-1 Man Utd”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      The Black Cats contributed to their own downfall for the only goal when Titus Bramble, making his first appearance since Boxing Day, and Michael Turner, let Phil Jones' cross bounce across the six-yard box as Rooney tucked in at the back post.
  3. (transitive) To cause to move quickly up and down, or back and forth, once or repeatedly.
    He bounced the child on his knee.
    The children were bouncing a ball against a wall.
  4. (transitive, colloquial) To suggest or introduce (an idea, etc.) to (off or by) somebody, in order to gain feedback.
    I'm meeting Bob later to bounce some ideas off him about the new product range.
  5. (intransitive) To leap or spring suddenly or unceremoniously; to bound.
    She bounced happily into the room.
    • Jonathan Swift
      Out bounced the mastiff.
  6. To move rapidly (between).
    • 2017 July 30, Ali Barthwell, “Ice and fire finally meet in a front-loaded episode of Game Of Thrones (newbies)”, in The Onion AV Club[2]:
      “The Queen’s Justice” had some fantastic moments of wit and heart but the structure and pacing didn’t do it any favors. The first section of the episode mostly bounced between Jon Snow’s arrival at Dragonstone and Cersei Lannister burning through her enemies and giving nary a fuck.
  7. (intransitive, informal, of a cheque/check) To be refused by a bank because it is drawn on insufficient funds.
    We can’t accept further checks from you, as your last one bounced.
  8. (transitive, informal) To fail to cover (have sufficient funds for) (a draft presented against one's account).
    He tends to bounce a check or two toward the end of each month, before his payday.
  9. (intransitive, slang) To leave.
    Let’s wrap this up, I gotta bounce.
  10. (US, slang, dated) To eject violently, as from a room; to discharge unceremoniously, as from employment.
  11. (intransitive, slang, African American Vernacular) (sometimes employing the preposition with) To have sexual intercourse.
  12. (transitive, air combat) To attack unexpectedly.
    The squadron was bounced north of the town.
  13. (intransitive, electronics) To turn power off and back on; to reset
    See if it helps to bounce the router.
  14. (intransitive, Internet, of an e-mail message or address) To return undelivered.
    What’s your new email address? The old one bounces.
    The girl in the bar told me her address was, but my mail to that address bounced back to me.
  15. (intransitive, aviation) To land hard and lift off again due to excess momentum.
    The student pilot bounced several times during his landing.
  16. (intransitive, skydiving) To land hard at unsurvivable velocity with fatal results.
    After the mid-air collision, his rig failed and he bounced. BSBD.
  17. (transitive, sound recording) To mix (two or more tracks of a multi-track audio tape recording) and record the result onto a single track, in order to free up tracks for further material to be added.
    Bounce tracks two and three to track four, then record the cowbell on track two.
  18. (slang, dated) To bully; to scold.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of J. Fletcher to this entry?)
  19. (archaic) To strike or thump, so as to rebound, or to make a sudden noise; to knock loudly.
    • Jonathan Swift
      Another bounces as hard as he can knock.
  20. (archaic) To boast; to bluster.


  • (change direction of motion after hitting an obstacle): bounce back, rebound
  • (move quickly up and down): bob

Derived terms[edit]



bounce (countable and uncountable, plural bounces)

  1. A change of direction of motion after hitting the ground or an obstacle.
    • 2012 June 9, Owen Phillips, “Euro 2012: Netherlands 0-1 Denmark”, in BBC Sport:
      Krohn-Dehli took advantage of a lucky bounce of the ball after a battling run on the left flank by Simon Poulsen, dummied two defenders and shot low through goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg's legs after 24 minutes.
  2. A movement up and then down (or vice versa), once or repeatedly.
  3. An email return with any error.
  4. The sack, licensing.
  5. A bang, boom.
  6. A drink based on brandyW.
    • 1870 May, “Irish Life”, in The Saint Pauls Magazine, volume VI, London: Strahan & Co., publishers, 56, Ludgate Hill, OCLC 963571888, page 203:
      A prologue of cherry bounce,—brandy,—preceded the entertainment, which was enlivened by hob-nobs and joyous toasts.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 6, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      He had one hand on the bounce bottle—and he'd never let go of that since he got back to the table—but he had a handkerchief in the other and was swabbing his deadlights with it.
  7. A heavy, sudden, and often noisy, blow or thump.
    • Dryden
      The bounce burst open the door.
  8. Bluster; brag; untruthful boasting; audacious exaggeration; an impudent lie; a bouncer.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Johnson to this entry?)
    (Can we find and add a quotation of De Quincey to this entry?)
  9. Scyllium catulus, a European dogfish.
  10. A genre of New Orleans music.
  11. (slang, African American Vernacular) Drugs.
  12. (slang, African American Vernacular) Swagger.
  13. (slang, African American Vernacular) A 'good' beat.
  14. (slang, African American Vernacular) A talent for leaping.
    Them pro-ballers got bounce!


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.