A bummer is a huge disappointment. It's a bummer when you try out for a big role in a play and don't end up getting it.

The word bummer is a very casual way to describe or make note of a frustrating experience. You can say, "It was such a bummer when we missed the train," or respond to bad news by saying, "Bummer!" The current meaning is from 1960s slang, but in the 1880s a bummer was a "loafer" or "idle person," probably from the German slang word bummler, "loafer."

Definitions of bummer

n an experience that is irritating or frustrating or disappointing

“having to stand in line so long was a real bummer
Type of:
annoyance, botheration, irritation, vexation
the psychological state of being irritated or annoyed

n a bad reaction to a hallucinogenic drug

Type of:
a symptom caused by an illness or a drug

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.