bel·​lows ˈbe-(ˌ)lōz How to pronounce bellows (audio)
plural in form but singular or plural in construction
: an instrument or machine that by alternate expansion and contraction draws in air through a valve or orifice and expels it through a tube
also : any of various other blowers
: lungs
: the pleated expansible part in a camera
also : a metallic or plastic flexible and expansible vessel

Examples of bellows in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This can be paired with a proprietary gooseneck fan that fits into the elbow’s opening and acts like electric bellows—producing glowing coals in as little as 3 minutes. Melissa Mayer, Field & Stream, 30 Jan. 2023 That drill and its associated instrumentation lie within a metal bellows. Liz Kruesi, Discover Magazine, 27 Aug. 2016 Gadgetry out of Rogers’ lab has included everything from wireless electronic implants that fight a bacterial infection and then disappear, to stretchable batteries made of tiny nanowires arranged to resemble an accordion’s bellows. Stephen Ornes, Discover Magazine, 12 June 2017 Some Good Shepherd members are old enough to remember when a young boy pumped the bellows with his feet. Dallas News, 23 Nov. 2022 It’s sort of like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time to be able to play, like, piano keyboards, and then buttons with the other hand, and then at the same time moving bellows in and out. Sarah Larson, The New Yorker, 6 Nov. 2022 The bellows, composed of many 5.25-inch floppy disks cut and taped into shape, emit air through a hole when squeezed. Benj Edwards, Ars Technica, 4 Nov. 2022 The best way to turn kindling into a roaring blaze without sticking your face into an ashy fireplace—you’re going to want to get yourself a dedicated fireplace bellows. Chris Meehan, Popular Mechanics, 18 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History


Middle English bely, below, belwes — more at belly

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bellows was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near bellows

Cite this Entry

“Bellows.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


noun singular or plural
bel·​lows ˈbel-ōz How to pronounce bellows (audio)
: a device that produces a strong current of air when it is spread apart and then pressed together
: a part of some cameras that is pleated and can expand

Medical Definition


noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction
bel·​lows ˈbel-(ˌ)ōz, -əz How to pronounce bellows (audio)
: lungs

Biographical Definition


biographical name

Bel·​lows ˈbe-(ˌ)lōz How to pronounce Bellows (audio)
George Wesley 1882–1925 American painter
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