hump

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

  • noun the rounded flesh on the back or shoulders of an animal, such as a camel, or certain breeds of cattle

Cars & Driving

  • noun a raised portion on the rim bead seat of passenger car wheels, retaining the beads of an insufficiently inflated tubeless tyre on the bead seats, thereby preventing the tyre beads from jumping into the rim well.

Slang

  • noun a feeling of annoyance, resentment or depression. To ‘have the hump’ or ‘get the hump’ has meant to be bad-tempered or to take offence since the 18th century. It comes from the notion of a hunchback’s burden.
  • noun a nickname for a Camel cigarette
  • noun a despicable or contemptible person. This insult may be based on the old term for a hunchback or may derive from the sexual meaning of the verb to hump.
  • verb to have sex (with). ‘Once a fashionable word for copulation’, according to the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue by Grose, 1785, hump is now scarcely fashionable but is still a widespread vulgarism, often in the form ‘humping’.
  • verb to carry. This now common informal sense of the word was considered unorthodox in the 1950s.

Origin & History of “hump”

Hump seems to have originated among the Low German dialects of north Germany and the Low Countries – Dutch, for instance, has the probably related homp ‘lump’. It first appeared in English towards the end of the 17th century in the compound hump-backed, but by the first decade of the 18th century it was being used on its own. (Another theory is that it arose from a blend of the now obsolete crumpbacked with hunchbacked (16th c.), whose hunch- is of unknown origin.).
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