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A colourful bumbershoot.

Probably a blend of bumber + shoot, modifications of umbr(ella) +‎ (para)chute.[1] Compare umbershoot.



bumbershoot (plural bumbershoots)

  1. (originally and chiefly US, slang, humorous) An umbrella. [from late 19th c.]
    Synonyms: (Australia, Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, informal) brolly, (Britain, dated) gamp
    It smells like rain. Perhaps we should take along a bumbershoot.
    • 1887, Olivia Lovell Wilson, “Left. A Railroad Episode.”, in Parlor Varieties: Part Three: Plays, Pantomimes, and Charades, Boston, Mass.: Lee and Shepard; New York, N.Y.: Charles T. Dillingham, →OCLC, act I, page 113:
      Oh! Hang the bumbershoot! [Flings umbrella away, clasps Mrs. Dobbs wildly.]
    • 1891 March 21, “From the New Mother Goose”, in Brooklyn Life: A Journal of Society, Literature, Drama & the Clubs, volume III, number 55, Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.: Brooklyn Life Publishing Company, →OCLC, page 2, column 1:
      Little drops of water / It is safe to bet / If you have no bumbershoot, / Make you doosid wet.
    • 1912, L[yman] Frank Baum, “The Magic Umbrella”, in Sky Island [], 1st Canadian edition, Toronto, Ont.: The Copp, Clark Co., →OCLC, page 25:
      "It—it belongs in our family," said Button-Bright, beginning to eat and speaking between bites. "This umbrella has been in our family years, an' years, an' years. But it was tucked away up in our attic an' no one ever used it 'cause it wasn't pretty." / "Don't blame 'em much," remarked Cap'n Bill, gazing at it curiously; "it's a pretty old-lookin' bumbershoot."
    • 1958 December 1, “Wichita Television Corporation Incorporated, d/b/a KARD-TV and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees & Moving Picture Machine Operators of the U.S. & Canada, Motion Picture Projectionists, Local No. 414, AFL-CIO [Cases Nos. 17-CA-1109 and 17-CA-1153]”, in Decisions and Orders of the National Labor Relations Board, volume 122, Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office [for the National Labor Relations Board], published 1959, →OCLC, page 251:
      Two women pickets, Krkossa and Menefee, walked the picket line in front of the Respondent's studio for 1½ hours on 1 day carrying large old-fashioned men's umbrella (perhaps better described by the word "bumbershoots") thereby, according to the Respondent's theory, committing serious strike misconduct by interfering with pedestrian traffic in front of the Respondent's studio, by preventing others on the street or sidewalk from reading advertising material painted on the approximately 50-foot expanse of windows of the Respondent's building facing upon the street, and by reason of the hazard allegedly created of physical damage to passing pedestrians from the ribs of said bumbershoots.
    • 1964 September, Stan Lee, “On to Okinawa!”, in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, number 10, New York, N.Y.: Marvel Comics Group, →OCLC, page 8:
      Nick Fury. Hey, Percy! Get that blasted umbrella outta my ribs!! / Percy Pinkerton. I beg your par … Oh! You mean my bumbershoot!
    • 1968, Richard Morton Sherman, Robert Bernard Sherman (lyrics and music), “Me Ol’ Bamboo”, in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Original Cast Soundtrack, performed by Dick Van Dyke, New York, N.Y.: United Artists, →OCLC:
      Me ol' bamboo, me ol' bamboo / You'd better never bother with me ol' bamboo. / You can have me hat or me bumbershoot / But you'd better never bother with me ol' bamboo.
    • 1970 December 11, Ken Anderson et al., The Aristocats, spoken by Napoleon (Pat Buttram), Glendale, Calif.: Walt Disney Productions, →OCLC:
      Wait a minute! Where's my hat? Where— and somebody stole my bumbershoot!
    • 1982, Robert B[ailey] Thomas, “April, the Fourth Month”, in Jud Hale [i.e., Judson D. Hale Sr.], editor, The (Old) Farmer’s Almanack, Calculated on a New and Improved Plan for the Year of Our Lord 1982, number 190, Dublin, N.H.: Rob Trowbridge, Yankee Publishing, →OCLC, page 49:
      Drizzles and mizzles. Recruit a bumbershoot.
    • 2021 April, Renée Rosen, chapter 60, in The Social Graces, New York, N.Y.: Berkley Books, →ISBN, page 352:
      She was terrified as a pair of footmen—dressed in full sixteenth-century livery, powdered wigs and all—cut through the chaos and ushered them inside the Waldorf, shielding them from the flying debris with bumbershoots.

Usage notes[edit]

Since c. 1940, many Americans have mistakenly assumed the word is British slang,[2] but the word is generally not used in Britain.

Alternative forms[edit]



  1. ^ bumbershoot, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, July 2023; “bumbershoot, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  2. ^ Ben Yagoda (4 November 2011), “The Good Word: Cheerio, Bumbershoot! The Word is Not Actually British for Umbrella”, in Slate[1], New York, N.Y.: The Slate Group, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2023-06-21.

Further reading[edit]