What does “a dumpy” mean in 2024?

This Instagram post threw me for a loop, because what is a “dumpy”? I looked at the comments, assuming someone else would be asking, too, but doing so made me feel very old, as everyone seemed to know exactly what was meant.

Screenshot because Instagram won’t let me embed this. Original link here.

Dictionary entries give definitions for the adjective “dumpy”, Merriam Webster for example gives the definition “being short and thick in build”. But the word was clearly being used as a noun, so this did not help me.

Urban Dictionary to the rescue, then. On this dictionary, “a dumpy” has been “an ass” since 2004. A sagging ass, a regular ass, not necessarily a fat ass. Since 2011 we start seeing the definition that it should be specifically a fat ass. One of the definitions mentions “a dump truck ass”, suggesting the likely etymology.

Interestingly, since 2020 there are also entries for “dumpy” saying it refers to a “round and firm ass”. And when I look on social media, I feel like in 2024 most people refer to a dumpy as being something positive. My definition for “dumpy” in 2024 is, therefore “a big, firm set of buttocks”.

Heddwen Newton is an English teacher and translator. She is fascinated by contemporary English and the way English changes. Her newsletter is English in Progress. 1100 subscribers and growing every day!

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