air bladder


: a sac containing gas and especially air
The float tube was an ingenious device built around an inner tube, featuring a seat and backrest created from an additional air bladder in the nylon shell of the rig.Peter Bodo
: such as
: a saclike organ present in most bony fishes which contains gas and especially oxygen and nitrogen and that serves chiefly to control buoyancy and in some primitive fish (such as the lungfish) functions as an accessory respiratory organ
Elasmobranchs lack the air bladder that gives other fishes buoyancy, and their skeletons are made of light cartilage instead of bone.Steve Kemper
Fish make sounds by clicking their teeth, blowing air, and drumming with special muscles against tuned inflated air bladders.Lewis Thomas

called also swim bladder

: a gas- or air-filled vesicle in certain algae and aquatic plants (such as rockweed) that helps keep photosynthetic blades and fronds buoyant
At the base of each frond is a small air bladder that buoys the blade up to the surface, where it continues to grow while forming a dense canopy approximately 4 feet deep.Jennifer Winger

called also pneumatocyst

Illustration of air bladder

Illustration of air bladder
  • A air bladder

Examples of air bladder in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web It’s made with a light layer of synthetic insulation and an air bladder that doesn’t give you that uncomfortable sleeping-on-a-beach-ball feeling. Sarah Kester, Travel + Leisure, 29 Aug. 2023 Up close, Sargassum is a collection of leafy structures, branches, and oxygen-carrying berries called pneumatocysts, air bladders that help the mats float. George Petras, USA TODAY, 20 Mar. 2023 Blowers then inflate an air bladder to help seal the gap—this can only be done once the roof has stopped moving. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 29 Aug. 2022 In 2007, Herbert Nitsch, a 41-year-old Austrian, dove more than 700 feet—assisted by a watersled on the way down and an air bladder to pull him to the surface—to claim a new world record for absolute depth. James Nestor, Outside Online, 25 Jan. 2012 The fish’s thick, spongy, and highly vascular air bladder behaves like a lung to aerate the alligator gar’s blood. National Geographic, 25 Feb. 2020 Species such as snappers and groupers have air bladders, which allow them to make fine-scale adjustments in their buoyancy. Popular Science, 11 Feb. 2020 The paper was made of cloth, sometimes silk and isinglass, which is somewhat see-through and made from fish air bladders. Jonah Estess, The Conversation, 29 Aug. 2019 Pine, for example, is a wind-pollinated tree, so its pollen has special air bladders to keep it aloft on the lightest breeze. Zoë Schlanger, Quartz, 6 June 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'air bladder.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1675, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of air bladder was in 1675

Dictionary Entries Near air bladder

Cite this Entry

“Air bladder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

air bladder

: a cavity found in various algae that contains gases and serves to keep the algae afloat

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