Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bumper n.2

[the bumping of glasses in the toast or f. SE bumping, huge, great. Popular ety. suggests a supposed Fr. toast, au bon père, to the good father, i.e. the pope]

1. a full glass, esp. when raised in a toast; also as v., to make a toast; thus bumpering n., drinking, bumper, to drink ( a toast).

[UK]J. Lacy Sir Hercules Buffoon IV ii: ald.: Bumper! prethee what’s a Bumper? sq.: For shame Uncle, not know what a Bumper is! Bumper is the Parnassus word for a Beer Glass top full.
[UK] ‘A Song on Bartholomew Fair’ in Playford Pills to Purge Melancholy I 255: Come sit down then brisk Lads all, / A Bumper to the King.
[UK]Farquhar Constant Couple V i: I have toasted your Ladyship fifteen bumpers successively.
[UK]C. Shadwell Fair Quaker of Deal II iii: Come, her Majesties Health in a Bumper, and may she live for ever.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy I 21: And lately had Poison’d himself, / With bumpers of claret.
[UK]A. Ramsay Tea-table Misc. (1733) I 48: Come, fill me a bumper, my jolly brave boys.
[UK]Swift Polite Conversation 59: Come, give me a Glass of Claret. (Footman fills him a Bumper.).
[UK]Richardson Memoirs of the Life of Lady H 15: The Cook filled a bumper, and drank to her: Here, Pamela, says she, a good Health to you.
[UK]Fielding Tom Jones (1959) 280: Taking a bumper in one hand, and holding me by the other, ‘Here, my boy, [...] here’s wishing you joy.’.
[UK]A. Murphy Upholsterer I i: I’ll drink your Mistress’s Health in a Bumper.
[UK]O. Goldsmith ‘A Reverie at the Boar’s-head-tavern, Eastcheap’ in Coll. Works (1966) III 100: She would pledge me a bumper.
[UK]G. Stevens ‘To Drink’ in Songs Comic and Satyrical 66: When Prudence declaims how time passes, / Cou’d we tempt Mr. Chronos to stay, / While we’re bump’ring a round of our lasses, / We could wait upon all he could say. [Ibid.] 74: The politic patter, / Which both parties chatter, / From bumpering freely shan’t shake us.
[UK]Sheridan Rivals (1776) II i: Adieu, Jack, we must meet at night when you shall give me a dozen bumpers to little Lydia.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: bumper, a full glass, in all likelihood from its convexity or bump at the top; some derive it from a full glass formerly drank to the health of the pope, a la bon pere.
[UK] ‘When Princes and Prelates’ in Burns Merry Muses of Caledonia (1965) 54: But truce with commotions and new-fangled notions, / A bumper I trust you’ll allow.
[UK] ‘British Fair’ in Jovial Songster 35: The bumpers fill’d, the toast shall be, / ‘British Fair, with three times three’.
[UK]J.B. Burges Riches IV iii: There they’re all sitting, with your hopeful clerks, / Eating and drinking, gaily quaffing bumpers / To their kind patron’s health.
[UK]W. Scott Rob Roy (1883) 123: Gulping down the rest of his dissatisfaction in a huge bumper of claret.
[UK]T. Morton A School For Grown Children III iii: He challenged me to drink bumpers.
Portfolio (London) 19 Oct. 3/2: A Lieutenant [...] insisted upon bumpering Smollett’s health three times over.
[UK] ‘’Tis A Bit Of A Thing’ in Lummy Chaunter 58: Now you see, that I sing, / With a bumper to woman! to season our wine.
True Colonist (Hobart, Tas.) 21 Apr. 585/3: ‘We played that well, did’nt we? [...] And I think [...] we ought to have a bumper on the strength of it’.
[Ind]Bellew Memoirs of a Griffin II 97: ‘Pass the bottle [...] fill up a bumper; come, a brimmer; no daylight, Sir’.
[UK]G.W.M. Reynolds Mysteries of London II (2nd series) 58: On the strength of it they drank bumpers to the success of the projected enterprise.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Adventures of Mr Verdant Green (1982) I 77: Fill up a bumper to the health of our esteemed host Smalls.
[UK]G.A. Sala Strange Adventures of Captain Dangerous 171: I should like, master, to drink your health in a bumper of right Burgundy.
[US]J. O’Connor Wanderings of a Vagabond 268: Two dozen of wine were uncorked, and the Major’s health, extension of longevity, and success, drank in bumpers with vociferous cheering.
[UK]G.R. Sims ‘A Silver Wedding’ Ballads of Babylon 56: Gout or no gout, here’s a bumper to Harold and Elspeth Grey!
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Mar. 17/2: ‘It gives,’ said a gallant Gaul, ‘very much plaisir to propose bon voyage to the Australian Army. We will drink this […] in bumpers – and no boot-heels.’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 25 Nov. 7/6: The wind-up of the evening had to be celebrated in more creaming bumpers.
[UK]Binstead & Wells Pink ’Un and Pelican 52: Lady Cranleigh’s health [...] and her daughter Madge. Bumpers.
[UK]D. Cotsford Society Snapshots 187: Now for a bumper with which to pledge our vows.
[Aus]H. Morant ‘Butchered to Make a Dutchman’s Holiday’ in Cutlack Breaker Morant (1962) 176: Let’s toss a bumper down our throat / Before we pass to Heaven, / And toast: ‘the trim-set petticoat / We leave behind in Devon’.
[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 284: Any one who welshed on the Bumpers was likely to have his Name stricken out of the Social Register.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Cancer (1963) 28: The wine is being brought out. There will be bumpers downed.
[UK]B. MacMahon Children of the Rainbow 106: She poured him out a good bumper of whiskey.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. 11 July 26: Raise a bumper to our glorious sovereign.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[UK]J. Sheppard Sheppard in Egypt 17: Mrs. Boyle, also reproach’d me, for disturbing her at her Stand at the Bumper-Tavern Door.

3. anything unusually large or plentiful.

[UK]‘Boz’ Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi 158: His two benefits were bumpers, and the theatre closed on the 12th of September, after a most profitable campaign.
[Aus]Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) 25 Mar. 2/2: The benefit must be a bumper — if there is taste in Sydney.
[UK]G.A. Sala Gaslight and Daylight 264: A capital house though, to-night: a bumper, indeed. Such a bumper [...] that they have been obliged to place benches on the stage.

4. (W.I.) a drunkard, a habitual drinker, esp. of rum.

[WI]cited in Cassidy & LePage Dict. Jam. Eng. (1980).