belly

noun
bel·​ly | \ ˈbe-lē \
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

Alfredo had run away from home after his father, a ranch hand, had slashed his mother’s arms and belly with a machete in a jealous rage. Robbie Whelan, WSJ, "Mexico’s New Focus to Stem Violent Culture: Children," 26 Jan. 2019 Regularly using relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga may help keep belly fat at bay. Karyn Repinski, Woman's Day, "New Research Links Belly Fat to an Increased Risk of Heart Attacks in Women," 23 Jan. 2019 Chrissy Teigen is the gift that keeps on giving: From her epic Twitter clapbacks to her drool-worthy recipes, Teigen consistently delivers full bellies and belly laughs. Lynsey Eidell, Glamour, "This Chrissy Teigen Reaction Is Winning the 2018 Emmy Awards," 17 Sep. 2018 Stress triggers the release of the hormone cortisol, which encourages your body to store more fat, particularly around your belly. Karyn Repinski, Woman's Day, "New Research Links Belly Fat to an Increased Risk of Heart Attacks in Women," 23 Jan. 2019 The ears pointed up like dog's ears, and its belly hung high above the ground. Author: Christine Cunningham, Anchorage Daily News, "Instead of a black bear, hunter gets a view from a nonhunter’s eyes," 5 June 2018 About 200 Japanese soldiers died in the assault, and the remaining 500 or so held grenades to their bellies and pulled the pins. Melinda Morris, NOLA.com, "Louisiana soldier killed during training in Texas is laid to rest: report," 28 May 2018 About 200 Japanese soldiers died in the assault, and the remaining 500 or so held grenades to their bellies and pulled the pins. Washington Post, "Bloody but forgotten WWII battle still haunts soldiers," 27 May 2018 The company is developing a plane with a wingspan of 385 feet that will launch satellites from a rocket attached to the plane's belly. Samantha Masunaga, latimes.com, "The Defense Department wants small rockets that can launch satellites at a moment's notice," 24 May 2018

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

14 Feb 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 \
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 \
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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