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Mid 16th century, probably imitative.


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


thump (plural thumps)

  1. A blow that produces a muffled sound.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chapter 1:
      ... and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each other’s shoulder-blades, and be content.
    • 1710 January 4 (Gregorian calendar), Isaac Bickerstaff [et al., pseudonyms; Richard Steele et al.], “Saturday, December 24, 1709”, in The Tatler, number 111; republished in [Richard Steele], editor, The Tatler, [], London stereotype edition, volume II, London: I. Walker and Co.; [], 1822, →OCLC:
      The watchman gave so very great a thump at my door last night, that I awakened at the knock.
  2. The sound of such a blow; a thud.
  3. (dated, colloquial, euphemistic) Used to replace the vulgar or blasphemous element in "what the hell" and similar phrases.
    Where the thump have you been?!



thump (third-person singular simple present thumps, present participle thumping, simple past and past participle thumped)

  1. (transitive) To hit (someone or something) as if to make a thump.
  2. (transitive) To cause to make a thumping sound.
    The cat thumped its tail in irritation.
  3. (intransitive) To thud or pound.
  4. (intransitive) To throb with a muffled rhythmic sound.
    • 2013 June 29, “Travels and travails”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 55:
      Even without hovering drones, a lurking assassin, a thumping score and a denouement, the real-life story of Edward Snowden, a rogue spy on the run, could be straight out of the cinema. But, as with Hollywood, the subplots and exotic locations may distract from the real message: America’s discomfort and its foes’ glee.
    Dance music thumped from the nightclub entrance.