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
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 situationMeanwhile, 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

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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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 Once, only the wealthy could afford the costlier cuts from above the belly, such as the loin, ribs and shoulder. Kathleen Squires, WSJ, "Master These Butchering Basics and Be Set for Summer Grilling and Beyond," 6 Aug. 2020 Donelson stayed on his belly about 16 hours a day early on, as his doctors watched his oxygen levels improve. Lauran Neergaard And Nicole Winfield, Star Tribune, "Early in pandemic, frantic doctors traded tips across oceans," 1 Aug. 2020 Gusts of biting wind blew through her garments, an infant wrapped to her chest and a baby in her belly. Sarah Haselhorst, The Enquirer, "Margaret Garner's story has resonated for the past 164 years. It's one she never got to tell," 30 July 2020 Weighing in at 2,260 pounds, with 3.5 miles of cable curled in its belly, Perseverance carries seven science instruments, 43 sample-collecting tubes, the first microphone to fly to Mars, and nearly two dozen cameras. National Geographic, "NASA's newest Mars rover begins its journey to hunt for alien life," 30 July 2020 Much of what Flex produced in China traveled to the United States in the belly of passenger jets. Washington Post, "We are deeply grateful to our subscribers who make our work possible.," 30 July 2020 The video shows a missile mounted to the belly of a helicopter, likely a Shahed 278 helicopter. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Iran Blows Up Fake U.S. Aircraft Carrier. Again.," 28 July 2020 His belly contracted sharply in rapid bursts while his face contorted in pain. Sharon Grigsby, Dallas News, "We went inside Parkland’s COVID unit during its ‘worst week’ as coronavirus cases spike in North Texas," 28 June 2020 Adding threatening and creepy to his list of unsavory traits, the corrupt cop touches Mrs. Drake's pregnant belly, insists on paying for their groceries, and suggests the officer not talk to Perry Mason. Matt Cabral, EW.com, "Perry Mason recap: Paul Drake delivers a new clue with some serious bite," 6 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Amazon's Crucible Magicks Gaming Clichés Into Something Fresh," 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, "Chinese New Year recipe: Easy dumplings symbolize wealth and prosperity," 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, "Review: ‘The Tale of Despereaux’ a charming and inventive musical take on children’s fable at Old Globe," 15 July 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for belly

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for belly

Last Updated

10 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Belly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/belly. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for belly

belly

noun
How to pronounce belly (audio)

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
d : the stomach and its adjuncts
2 : the enlarged fleshy body of a muscle

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More from Merriam-Webster on belly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for belly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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