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a person who avoids work and sponges on others; loafer; idler.
a tramp, hobo, or derelict.
Informal. an enthusiast of a specific sport or recreational activity, especially one who gives it priority over work, family life, etc.:
a ski bum; a tennis bum.
Informal. an incompetent person.
a drunken orgy; debauch.
Informal. to borrow without expectation of returning; get for nothing; cadge:
He’s always bumming cigarettes from me.
Slang. to ruin or spoil:
The weather bummed our whole weekend.
to sponge on others for a living; lead an idle or dissolute life.
to live as a hobo.
of poor, wretched, or miserable quality; worthless.
disappointing; unpleasant.
erroneous or ill-advised; misleading:
That tip on the stock market was a bum steer.
a bum leg.
bum around, Informal. to travel, wander, or spend one’s time aimlessly:
We bummed around for a couple of hours after work.
bum (someone) out, Slang. to disappoint, upset, or annoy:
It really bummed me out that she could have helped and didn’t.
on the bum, Informal.

living or traveling as or in a manner suggesting that of a hobo or tramp.
in a state of disrepair or disorder:
The oven is on the bum again.

Historical Examples

The Soul of John Brown Stephen Graham

(Brit, slang) the buttocks or anus
a disreputable loafer or idler
a tramp; hobo
an irresponsible, unpleasant, or mean person
a person who spends a great deal of time on a specified sport: baseball bum
on the bum

living as a loafer or vagrant
out of repair; broken

verb bums, bumming, bummed
(transitive) to get by begging; cadge: to bum a lift
(intransitive) often foll by around. to live by begging or as a vagrant or loafer
(intransitive) usually foll by around. to spend time to no good purpose; loaf; idle
(US & Canadian, slang) bum someone off, to disappoint, annoy, or upset someone
(prenominal) of poor quality; useless
wrong or inappropriate: a bum note

Inferior; defective; lousy: That’s a real bum notion you have there (1850s+)
: I told a bum story first/ He just didn’t want me to think he had a car with a bum clutch (1859+)

A person who seldom works, seldom stays in one place, and survives by begging and petty theft; vagrant; drifter, hobo (1860s+)
A promiscuous woman, esp a cheap prostitute: picking up bums in public dance halls (1930+)
Any male who is disliked by the speaker, esp for lack of energy, direction, or talent •Often used of inept or despised athletes: The bum strikes out three times in a row (1920+)
A person who lives or tries to live by his or her sports talent and charm, usually without being genuinely professional: Developed by volleyball bums who hated the regimentation of the indoor game (1950s+)
An inferior animal, breed, racehorse, etc (1930+)
Anything inferior or ineffectual: Money is a bum, a no-good bum (1950s+)

To live as a tramp, drifter, etc: It wasn’t easy bumming that winter/ He bummed for a couple of years, then got a job (1860s+)
To beg or borrow; cadge: A schooner can be grafted if you’re fierce at bumming (1850s+)
(also bum one’s way, bum a ride) To hitchhike: They bummed all the way to Alaska (1920s+)
To deceive; victimize: Anyone who’s seen this halfbaked ode to mixed marital relations realizes that the star has been bummed into a bit role (1960s+)
To improve something, esp by exploiting its full potential or rearranging its parts: I bummed the whole program to show up all possible mistakes (Computer)
(also bum out) To become depressed, discouraged, or irritated: You don’t want to pull off the information superhighway because you’re already dialed into an on-line service. Don’t bum (1960s+)

bum around
bum out
bum rap
bum steer


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