The Meaning of Bummer: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of bummer? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word bummer, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word bummer mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word bummer is a noun that refers to something that is unpleasant or annoying like a bad experience, unpleasant event, bad reaction or adverse reaction to a hallucinogenic drug, the unpleasant aftermath of narcotic drugs such as panic or a similar development. The word bummer can also refer to a vagrant, idler, or loaf. Bummer is two syllables – bumm-er, and the pronunciation of bummer is ˈbʌmə.

Words that mean bummer can also be found in many other languages. You may notice that some of these translations look very similar to each other. This is likely because they are from a similar root or common origin. Often, words of a similar root will look and sound similarly or be cognates to each other. The below list of translations of bummer is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Portuguese: decepção‎ (fem.)
  •  Greek: απογοήτευση‎ (fem.)
  •  Esperanto: malkontentigo‎, elreviĝo‎
  •  Russian: разочарова́ние‎ (neut.)
  •  Macedonian: разочарување‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: briseadh-dùil‎ (masc.), mealladh-dùil‎ (masc.)
  •  Finnish: pettymys‎
  •  Maori: ketekete‎
  •  Catalan: decepció‎ (fem.)
  •  Bulgarian: разочарова́ние‎ (neut.)
  •  Mandarin: 失望‎ (shīwàng)
  •  Malayalam: നിരാശ‎, ഇച്ഛാഭംഗം‎
  •  Romanian: dezamăgire‎ (fem.), decepție‎ (fem.)
  •  Czech: zklamání‎ (neut.)
  •  Telugu: ఆశాభంగం‎
  •  Arabic: خَيْبَة أَمَل‎
  •  Slovene: razočaranje‎ (neut.)
  •  French: déception‎ (fem.)
  •  Polish: rozczarowanie‎ (neut.), zawód‎ (masc.)
  •  Hebrew: אכזבה‎
  •  Hungarian: csalódás‎
  •  Italian: delusione‎ (fem.), disappunto‎ (masc.)
  •  Danish: skuffelse‎ (common)
  •  Irish: díomá‎ (fem.)
  •  Japanese: 失望‎ (しつぼう, shitsubō)
  •  Spanish: decepción‎ (fem.), desilusión‎ (fem.)
  •  Nynorsk: vonbrot‎ (neut.), vonbrott‎ (neut.), skuffelse‎ (masc.)
  •  Armenian: հիասթափություն‎
  •  Roman: razočarenje‎ (neut.)
  •  Dutch: teleurstelling‎ (fem.)
  •  Cyrillic: разочарење‎ (neut.)
  •  Icelandic: vonbrigði‎ (n-p)
  •  Swedish: besvikelse‎ (common)
  •  Bokmål: skuffelse‎ (masc.)
  •  German: Enttäuschung‎ (fem.)
  •  Korean: 실망‎ (失望‎)
  •  Vietnamese: sự thất vọng‎ (sự 失望‎)

What are synonyms and antonyms of bummer?

There are a plethora of different words that one can use in place of the word bummer. These are known as synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are very useful to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary or if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word bummer is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  loser
  •  trial
  •  heavyheartedness
  •  boring
  •  swagman
  •  bitter pill
  •  bad rap
  •  cadger
  •  nonevent
  •  woe
  •  mortification
  •  downers
  •  bum rap
  •  lugubriosity
  •  not good
  •  washout
  •  unpleasant experience
  •  heaviness of heart
  •  panhandler
  •  crime
  •  desperation
  •  unpleasant situation
  •  loafer
  •  adversity
  •  bad charge
  •  dud
  •  sadness
  •  vagabond
  •  bad luck
  •  failure
  •  lemon
  •  trouble
  •  misery
  •  bust
  •  bum trip
  •  butt
  •  sundowner
  •  swaggie
  •  bore
  •  depressing experience
  •  fiasco
  •  grief
  •  unfortunate occurrence
  •  despondency
  •  shame
  •  funk
  •  mendicant
  •  bad experience
  •  raw deal
  •  hard knocks
  •  abjectness
  •  lazzarone
  •  catastrophe
  •  letdown
  •  wormwood
  •  depression
  •  annoyance
  •  misfortune
  •  bindle stiff
  •  tribulation
  •  disappointment
  •  disconsolation
  •  bitch
  •  bad scene
  •  lousy deal
  •  dole
  •  disappointments
  •  unfair assessment
  •  distress
  •  slump
  •  moocher
  •  downer
  •  calamity
  •  drag
  •  ill fortune
  •  bad deal
  •  beggar
  •  curse
  •  almsman
  •  almswoman
  •  frustration
  •  heartbreak
  •  despair
  •  pity
  •  abasement
  •  rotten deal
  •  unhappy situation
  •  bad trip
  •  rotten hand
  •  hardship
  •  setback
  •  melancholy
  •  pain
  •  disaster
  •  dumps
  •  doldrums
  •  downheartedness
  •  blahs
  •  hopelessness
  •  anticlimax
  •  freak-out

There are also numerous different words that mean the opposite of the word bummer. These are called antonyms. Antonyms are also very useful to know if you are looking to expand your vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word bummer is also provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  successfulness
  •  cheerful celebration
  •  cheerful gathering
  •  celebratory gathering
  •  baby
  •  busy bee
  •  accomplishment
  •  cloud nine
  •  cheerful festival
  •  comer
  •  bingeable
  •  amazing
  •  cheerful event
  •  winner
  •  celebration
  •  hero
  •  celebratory party
  •  big break
  •  arrival
  •  triumph
  •  fun
  •  experience
  •  cheerful party
  •  acquirement
  •  cheerful carnival
  •  celebratory occasion
  •  success story
  •  miracle
  •  activist
  •  success
  •  champ
  •  celebratory event
  •  all-rounder
  •  code for success
  •  achiever
  •  adventure
  •  bright future
  •  happy event
  •  advantage
  •  pleasure
  •  amazeballs
  •  beat
  •  wild child
  •  blockbuster
  •  champion
  •  achievement
  •  delight
  •  call to action
  •  a-game
  •  opportunity

What is the origin of the word bummer?

According to Etymonline, the word bummer has been used since c19. This may be an extension of the UK or British word for backside or buttocks, bum, also used in Scotland, but more likely comes from the  German bummler meaning “loafer,” an agent noun from bummeln meaning “to go slowly or waste time.” The earliest uses are  in representations of German immigrant dialect in the U.S. In the American Civil War. Kluge states that the German word has been used since 17c and may come from baumeln meaning dangle.

How can the word bummer be used in a sentence?

There are many different ways in which the word bummer can be used in a sentence. This is a very versatile word that one will commonly hear. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions, as is using flashcards or quizzes to test your knowledge. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are several examples of bummer to get you started with using this new word.

Jamie Kinghorn was a rich girl in a very poor classroom. Jamie’s example of a time she experienced a bummer was not being able to attend an amazing concert in December because she was in Europe while others gave a different answer – the death of a friend, being a plundering straggler, or other profound loss. They had no visible means of support

It was such a bummer to see the forager and camp-follower living in the quay. The chap was young and was clearly experiencing unpleasant physical sensations on his wounded feet in the sea of November. 

The disappointing experience was a real bummer. The idle person next to us was there just to loiter and pickpocketed us before we entered the airport. What a worthless fellow. 

Overall, the word bummer is an expression of disappointment or sadness. This casual expression is German in origin and can also refer to a hobo or other dissolute fellow.  


  1. bummer: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. Bummer synonyms – 1 122 Words and Phrases for Bummer | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Bummer antonyms – 269 Opposites of Bummer | Power Thesaurus 
  4. bummer | Origin and meaning of bummer | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Bummer definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary