belly

1 of 2

noun

bel·​ly ˈbe-lē How to pronounce belly (audio)
plural bellies
1
b
: the stomach and its adjuncts
c
: the undersurface of an animal's body
also : hide from this part
d
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

belly

2 of 2

verb

bellied; bellying

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The study used an objective tool called a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, or DXA scan, to measure overall levels of fat and belly fat, which is considered to be the most dangerous type of fat to overall health. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 20 Feb. 2024 Mahomes, who began the parade in a red starter jacket and shirt, soon stripped off both with the help of his wife, Brittany, who held the shirt and kissed, or blew raspberries, on his belly. The Kansas City Star, Kansas City Star, 14 Feb. 2024 Spanning the entirety of the institution’s first floor, the show charts Hollowell’s conceptual and material evolution from her early drawings to her latest paintings, incorporating life casts of pregnant breasts and bellies. Stephanie Sporn, Vogue, 8 Feb. 2024 Cook says to also make use of grounding techniques such as pausing to check in with yourself (e.g., closing the eyes, doing a body scan, and taking deep belly breaths), which can calm down the nervous system. Tiffany Leigh, Parents, 4 Feb. 2024 Swift enjoyed a beverage with one hand while her other was placed on a pregnant Bell’s belly. Charna Flam, Peoplemag, 31 Jan. 2024 Mashed plantains with pork rinds and belly pieces, topped with garlic sauce and a choice of proteins, showcase the rich flavors of Dominican cuisine. Mari Pressley, Charlotte Observer, 30 Jan. 2024 Throughout pregnancy, the muscles stretch to accommodate the growing fetus, making the connective tissue between the abdominal muscles thin and weakening, causing a bulge in your belly. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 29 Jan. 2024 Below the pregnant belly, a red circle grows from a pinpoint to a prominent orb in each subsequent work. Stephanie Sporn, Vogue, 8 Feb. 2024
Verb
The see-ya-Miguel theory also ran into complications Tuesday: Arraez went on the concussion list for seven days after his foolish decision to belly slide into home plate on Monday. Star Tribune, 4 May 2021 Earl, a beer-bellied alien with a quad-cannon and a trucker hat, drawls about the simple life with a southern accent. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, 27 May 2020 Working quickly and in batches if necessary (adding more oil for the second batch if needed), arrange the dumplings belly side down in concentric circles starting from the outer edge. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 1 Feb. 2020 As loose-limbed a feel as the show boasts, though, this is an intricately staged and smartly conceived retelling of DiCamillo’s story about a mouse born with rampant curiosity, surprisingly large ears and an unusual lack of yellow-bellied-ness. James Hebert, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 July 2019 The alder, least and yellow-bellied only occur as migrants. Taylor Piephoff, charlotteobserver, 13 June 2018 Say bye-bye to belly fat and hello to a new and improved you. David Zinczenko, Fox News, 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, 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, 25 Oct. 2017 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

1606, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near belly

Cite this Entry

“Belly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/belly. Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

belly

1 of 2 noun
bel·​ly ˈbel-ē How to pronounce belly (audio)
plural bellies
1
b
: the undersurface of an animal's body
also : hide from this part
2
: an internal cavity : interior
3
: a curved or rounded surface or object
the belly of an airplane

belly

2 of 2 verb
bellied; bellying
: to swell or bulge out

Medical Definition

belly

noun
bel·​ly ˈbel-ē How to pronounce belly (audio)
plural bellies
1
b
: the undersurface of an animal's body
c
d
: the stomach and its adjuncts
2
: the enlarged fleshy body of a muscle

More from Merriam-Webster on belly

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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