What Is a Bumper Crop? – Meaning and Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Sometimes, phrases and terms pop up that might not be familiar to you, sparking some odd curiosity about their meaning and origin. That’s what happened when I first heard the phrase “bumper crop,” and I was surprised to discover its true meaning. So, I’m going to share what I learned and show you how to use this term in a sentence.

The Meaning and Definition of Bumper Crop

What Is a Bumper Crop Meaning Origin

You probably wouldn’t hear or use the term unless you were a farmer or at least knew a farmer. “Bumper crop” is a term we use in English to describe an unexpectedly abundant harvest or yield of crops from a farm. It’s usually things like grains, fruits, or vegetables.

The odd expression implies that the goods harvested have far exceeded what the farmer had originally expected or what they’d normally get as an average. Basically, it’s like saying they got what they needed and more.

The Etymology of the Term Bumper Crop

So, the term “bumper” itself was used to indicate something filled to the brim, like a bag of wheat, a glass of wine, and a bucket of butter. In 1839, Charles Dickens wrote, “This charming actress will be greeted with a bumper,” referring to a glass of wine filled right to the rim.

At some point, it was picked up by farmers to describe a crop or yield that was more than enough, where their crates and burlap sacks were bursting with whatever item they’d farmed. It coined the phrases “bumper crop” and “bumper year,” which referred to a particularly good year.

  • We had a bumper year four years ago and are still reaping the benefits of it.

What’s the Opposite of Bumper Crop?

If you’re looking for a term opposite to the phrase “bumper crop,” consider terms like a poor or meager harvest. It suggests a smaller-than-average yield or maybe a disappointing harvest. This can happen from pests, diseases, or even chaotic weather conditions like fires or drought.

Another Way to Say Bumper Crop

Consider using any of these synonyms for “bumper crop” if you don’t want to use the term.

  • Abundant harvest
  • Rich harvest
  • Plentiful yield
  • Great year
  • Bountiful crop
  • Great yield

Example Sentences Using Synonyms

To further show how you can use these synonyms, here are some sentences that include each one.

  • The wheat farmer was thrilled with the abundant harvest in Southern Alberta this year.
  • Thanks to favorable weather conditions, we had a rich harvest and more than enough cherries for the year.
  • The plentiful yield exceeded all our expectations for our first year of farming beets.
  • Look at the bountiful crop of carrots we got this year!
  • We were able to pay off all our debts and start a savings account thanks to the great yield we got this year.

Bumper Crop Examples in a Sentence

What Is a Bumper Crop Meaning Origin 1

Now let’s look at some sentences using the term bumper crop.

  • This year’s amazing weather conditions led to a bumper crop of apples, so we’ve got a head start for next year.
  • Farmers in the Southern Alberta region had bumper crop celebrations together after historical crop yields.
  • After several awful years of drought, the recent flooding of rains was bad for city folk but resulted in a bumper crop that brought much-needed relief to the local community of farmers.
  • The new irrigation system contributed to a bumper crop that exceeded all expectations.

Bottom Line on Bumper Crop

So, that’s a wrap on another great grammar guide! You can use the term “bumper” to indicate just about anything that’s abundant or overflowing. But the expression “bumper crop” is reserved specifically for farming. I hope my guide helped shed some light on that for you!