belly

noun
bel·​ly | \ ˈbe-lē How to pronounce belly (audio) \
plural bellies

Definition of belly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

b : the stomach and its adjuncts
c : the undersurface of an animal's body also : hide from this part
d : womb, uterus
2a : an internal cavity : interior
b : a central place where something is most prevalent, concentrated, or deeply ingrained … he became the hottest songwriter in Nashville, an antiauthoritarian smack-dab in the belly of the establishment.— Tony Scherman often used in the phrase the belly of the beast to refer especially to a dangerous or hostile place or situation Meanwhile, the very best bodies of America are in prison, pumping iron in the belly of the beast.— Robert Lipsyte
3 : appetite for food
4 : a surface or object curved or rounded like a human belly
5a : the enlarged fleshy body of a muscle
b : the part of a sail that swells out when filled with wind

belly

verb
bellied; bellying

Definition of belly (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to cause to swell or fill out wind bellying the sails

intransitive verb

1 : swell, fill
2a : to slide or crawl on one's belly

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Synonyms & Antonyms for belly

Synonyms: Noun

appetite, emptiness, famishment, hunger, munchies, stomach

Synonyms: Verb

bag, balloon, beetle, billow, bulge, bunch, jut, overhang, poke, pooch [chiefly dialect], pouch, pout, project, protrude, stand out, start, stick out, swell

Antonyms: Noun

inappetence

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Examples of belly in a Sentence

Noun

He got down on his belly to crawl. They slid down the snowy hill on their bellies. a gray squirrel with a white belly the belly of an airplane the belly of a ship

Verb

the sails slowly bellied as the wind picked up recruits were forced to belly over the obstacle course under simulated enemy fire
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Follow up a late afternoon tour with a drink and a snack at Fool’s Errand or Sweet Cheeks BBQ for a belly busting dinner. Tanya Edwards, BostonGlobe.com, "Father’s Day done your way," 14 June 2019 The focus is often on external ones (ahem, a growing belly). Cassie Shortsleeve, SELF, "What to Know About Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Your Pelvic Floor," 10 May 2019 These are the first photos of Joanna since the couple announced the pregnancy in January—also with a belly shot (both his and hers!). Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Joanna Gaines Shares Brand New Baby Bump Pictures One Month Ahead of Her Rumored Due Date," 7 June 2018 The actress—who is expecting her first child with boyfriend Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs—stepped out with her growing belly swathed in red, the power hue played up with a coordinated, immaculately applied crimson lip. Jessica Jones, Vogue, "Krysten Ritter Has a Superhero-Worthy Pregnancy Moment at the Jessica Jones Premiere," 29 May 2019 Still, there's really no telling if a bigger, more menacing creature is out there, slithering through the Everglades with a bounty of eggs lining its belly. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Researchers Capture the Biggest Snake Ever Found in the Florida Everglades," 8 Apr. 2019 Its in-your-face styling may be too much to stomach, but its funky looks are forgotten after your belly fills with butterflies from its bonkers engine and gigantic grip. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, "2018 Honda Civic Type R," 22 Feb. 2018 While greeting some students during his trip today, Harry was seen miming a baby bump on his belly, likely telling the kids about his wife Meghan Markle's pregnancy, according to a clip shared by journalist Valentine Low of The Times. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Harry Adorably Talks About Meghan Markle's Pregnancy with Schoolchildren," 20 Mar. 2019 One beneficiary of a bailout would be Warren Buffett, whose renewable-energy boondoggles are menaced by the prospect of his major customers going belly-up. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "California Burns for Better Leaders," 15 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The alder, least and yellow-bellied only occur as migrants. Taylor Piephoff, charlotteobserver, "Willow flycatchers are maddingly difficult to identify in the field," 13 June 2018 Say bye-bye to belly fat and hello to a new and improved you. David Zinczenko, Fox News, "'The Super Metabolism Diet' by David Zinczenko," 8 Jan. 2018 Patients have included dogs and cats, of course, but also a bearded dragon lizard, a hamster, a hedgehog and a pot-bellied pig. Nancy Dahlberg, miamiherald, "Customers give this South Florida startup two paws up | Miami Herald," 23 Feb. 2018 But giving them a run for the money will be the wildlife ambassadors that call the Science Center home: Ethel the opossum, Spooks the hognose snake, Sunny the yellow-bellied ball python and Mr. Six the three-toed box turtle. Faye Reeder, star-telegram, "Cocktails, appetizers, s’mores, jazz, stargazing and wildlife at Night With Nature | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 25 Oct. 2017 Though some stars are the types of muscular super-humans who populate sports like football and basketball, others are lanky, beer-bellied, stocky, or short. Alex Putterman, The Atlantic, "Jose Altuve, Baseball’s Unlikeliest Superstar," 6 Oct. 2017 Instead, the presidents have bellied their schools up to the bar and really opened the tap. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: FBI confirms NCAA doesn't run NCAA basketball. Shoe companies do.," 28 Sep. 2017 Stunning red berries appear in late summer and fall that attractive a number of birds, including the yellow bellied sapsucker. Jill Sell, cleveland.com, "Late summer and fall blooming plants add beauty to any yard," 13 Aug. 2017 The bar opened its doors in 1852 as Peter King’s Granite Store, a general mercantile, where miners could belly up to the bar — planks plunked atop barrels — and get a drink. Jackie Burrell, The Mercury News, "Yosemite: 5 ways to play in charming Groveland," 25 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'belly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of belly

Noun

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

Verb

1606, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for belly

Noun

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 entry 1

Verb

verbal derivative of belly entry 1

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Statistics for belly

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for belly

The first known use of belly was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for belly

belly

noun

English Language Learners Definition of belly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

belly

verb

English Language Learners Definition of belly (Entry 2 of 2)

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

belly

noun
bel·​ly | \ ˈbe-lē How to pronounce belly (audio) \
plural bellies

Kids Definition of belly

1 : the front part of the body between the chest and the hips
2 : the under part of an animal's body
3 : stomach entry 1 sense 1 My belly was full.
4 : a space inside something cargo stored in the ship's belly

belly

noun
bel·​ly | \ ˈbel-ē How to pronounce belly (audio) \
plural bellies

Medical Definition of belly

b : the undersurface of an animal's body
c : womb, uterus
d : the stomach and its adjuncts
2 : the enlarged fleshy body of a muscle

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More from Merriam-Webster on belly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with belly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for belly

Spanish Central: Translation of belly

Nglish: Translation of belly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of belly for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about belly

Comments on belly

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