Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

billow

play
noun bil·low \ˈbi-(ˌ)lō\

Simple Definition of billow

  • : a moving cloud or mass of smoke, steam, etc.

  • : a large wave

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of billow

  1. 1 :  wave; especially :  a great wave or surge of water

  2. 2 :  a rolling mass (as of flame or smoke) that resembles a high wave

billowy

play \ˈbi-lə-wē\ adjective

Examples of billow in a sentence

  1. Billows of smoke poured out of the burning building.

  2. the rolling billows of the sea



Origin and Etymology of billow

Old Norse bylgja; akin to Old High German balg bag — more at belly


First Known Use: 1552


2

billow

verb bil·low

Simple Definition of billow

  • : to move as a large cloud or mass

  • : to be pushed outward by air

  • : to rise or roll in waves

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of billow

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to rise or roll in waves or surges

  3. 2 :  to bulge or swell out (as through action of the wind)

  4. transitive verb
  5. :  to cause to billow

Examples of billow in a sentence

  1. <the curtains in the open windows billowed in the summer wind>



1585

First Known Use of billow

1585

Rhymes with billow


BILLOW Defined for Kids

1

billow

play
noun bil·low \ˈbi-lō\

Definition of billow for Students

  1. 1 :  a large wave <… the billows rose and fell unbroken. — Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island>

  2. 2 :  a moving cloud or mass (as of smoke or flame)




2

billow

play
verb bil·low

Definition of billow for Students

billowed

billowing

  1. 1 :  to rise or roll in large waves <the billowing ocean>

  2. 2 :  to move as a large cloud or mass <Smoke billowed from the chimney.>

  3. 3 :  to bulge or swell out <Sails billowed in the breeze.>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up billow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

airtight or solitary

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

two-chairs-on-a-pier-by-the-ocean-in-summer

Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?

estival brumal hiemal vernal
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ