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noun bel·ly \ˈbe-lē\

Simple Definition of belly

  • : a person's stomach or the part of the body that contains the stomach

  • : the part of an animal's body that is like a person's belly

  • : a curved or rounded surface or part

Full Definition of belly

plural bellies

  1. 1 a :  abdomen 1; also :  potbelly 1 b :  the stomach and its adjuncts c :  the undersurface of an animal's body; also :  hide from this part d :  womb, uterus

  2. 2 :  an internal cavity :  interior

  3. 3 :  appetite for food

  4. 4 :  a surface or object curved or rounded like a human belly

  5. 5 a :  the enlarged fleshy body of a muscle b :  the part of a sail that swells out when filled with wind

  6. 6 :  gut 1a(2)

Examples of belly

  1. He got down on his belly to crawl.

  2. They slid down the snowy hill on their bellies.

  3. a gray squirrel with a white belly

  4. the belly of an airplane

  5. the belly of a ship

Origin of belly

Middle English bely bellows, belly, from Old English belg bag, skin; akin to Old High German balg bag, skin, Old English blāwan to blow — more at blow

First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with belly



verb bel·ly

Simple Definition of belly

  • : to cause (something, such as a sail) to curve or bulge outward

Full Definition of belly


  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to cause to swell or fill out <wind bellying the sails>

  3. intransitive verb
  4. 1 :  swell, fill

  5. 2 a :  to slide or crawl on one's belly b :  belly-land

Examples of belly

  1. <the sails slowly bellied as the wind picked up>

  2. <recruits were forced to belly over the obstacle course under simulated enemy fire>


First Known Use of belly


BELLY Defined for Kids


noun bel·ly \ˈbe-lē\

Definition of belly

plural bellies

  1. 1 :  the front part of the body between the chest and the hips

  2. 2 :  the under part of an animal's body

  3. 3 :  1stomach 1 <My belly was full.>

  4. 4 :  a space inside something <cargo stored in the ship's belly>

History for belly

Our words bellows and belly both come from an Old English word belg, meaning “bag” or “purse.” The plural from belga was also used with the meaning “bellows.” It was probably a shortening of the compound word blæstbelga, literally, “blow-bags.” It is belga that ultimately gives us the modern word bellows. The singular belg gives us the modern word belly, though the use of a word meaning “bag” for “stomach” only arose in English of the later Middle Ages, after the end of the Old English period.

Medical Dictionary


noun bel·ly \ˈbel-ē\

Medical Definition of belly

plural bellies

  1. 1a:  abdomen 1ab:  the undersurface of an animal's bodyc:  womb, uterusd:  the stomach and its adjuncts

  2. 2:  the enlarged fleshy body of a muscle

Seen and Heard

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February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

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