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From Middle English clompe, from Old English clymppe, a variant of clympre (a lump or mass of metal), from Proto-Germanic *klumpô (mass, lump, clump; clasp), from Proto-Indo-European *glembʰ- (lump, clamp). Alternatively, possibly from Middle Dutch clompe or Middle Low German klumpe[1] (compare German Klumpen). Cognates include Danish klump (probably from Low German as well[2]). Compare Norwegian Bokmål klump.


  • IPA(key): /klʌmp/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌmp


clump (plural clumps)

  1. A cluster or lump; an unshaped piece or mass.
  2. A thick group or bunch, especially of bushes or hair.
  3. A dull thud.
    • 1927, Dorothy L. Sayers, Unnatural Death:
      She [Miss Climpson] asks questions which a young man could not put without a blush. She is the angel that rushes in where fools get a clump on the head.
    • 1956, Anthony Burgess, Time for a Tiger (The Malayan Trilogy), published 1972, page 37:
      Thus, the myths of cinema and syndicated cartoon have served to unite the diverse races far more than the clump of the cricket-ball and the clipped rebukes and laudations of their masters.
  4. The compressed clay of coal strata.
    • 1837, The Magazine of Domestic Economy:
      clump-burned bricks
  5. A small group of trees or plants.
  6. (historical) A thick addition to the sole of a shoe.

Derived terms[edit]



clump (third-person singular simple present clumps, present participle clumping, simple past and past participle clumped)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To form clusters or lumps.
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To gather in dense groups.
  3. (intransitive) To walk with heavy footfalls.
  4. (transitive, UK, regional) To strike; to beat.
    • 1912, Mrs. Coulson Kernahan, The Go-Between, page 79:
      There is his poor little cap hanging up on the door; and there on the table is the knife he chipped a piece out of through not minding the mark on the knife machine, and I clumped his head for him, poor lamb!

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ clump in Merriam-Webster's dictionary
  2. ^ klump” in Ordbog over det danske Sprog

Further reading[edit]