A "bounced check" is a check that cannot be processed by the bank because the party who wrote the check has insufficient funds to cover the amount of the check. (To my understanding it is a non-formal term; in other words, it's not the terminology the bank would use.)
I've heard this term used in the following ways:
- The bank charges me a fee for any bounced checks that I cash, so make sure you have enough money in your checking account!
- I must not forget to deposit my paycheck today or my rent check will bounce.
A ball bounces, but a check just flutters to the floor. How did the term "bounce" come to mean a check that lacks funds?