1

belly

noun bel·ly \ ˈbe-lē \
|Updated on: 20 Jun 2018

Definition of belly

plural bellies
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 a : 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
5 a : the enlarged fleshy body of a muscle
b : the part of a sail that swells out when filled with wind
6 : gut 1a(2)

Examples of belly in a Sentence

  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

Recent Examples of belly from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology 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 1blow


2

belly

verb

Definition of belly

bellied; bellying
: to cause to swell or fill out
  • wind bellying the sails
1 : swell, fill
2 a : to slide or crawl on one's belly

Examples of belly in a Sentence

  1. the sails slowly bellied as the wind picked up

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

Recent Examples of belly from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of belly

verbal derivative of 1belly



BELLY Defined for English Language Learners

belly

Definition of belly for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of belly for English Language Learners

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


BELLY Defined for Kids

belly

noun bel·ly \ ˈbe-lē \

Definition of belly for Students

plural bellies
1 : the front part of the body between the chest and the hips
2 : the under part of an animal's body
3 : 1stomach 1
  • My belly was full.
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

belly

noun bel·ly \ ˈbel-ē \

medical Definition of belly

plural bellies
1 a : abdomen 1a
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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