\ ˈbilj How to pronounce bilge (audio) \

Definition of bilge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the bulging part of a cask or barrel
2a : the part of the underwater body of a ship between the flat of the bottom and the vertical topsides
b : the lowest point of a ship's inner hull
3 : stale or worthless remarks or ideas


bilged; bilging

Definition of bilge (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to become damaged in the bilge

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of bilge in a Sentence


That magazine prints a lot of bilge about celebrities. tried to justify his bigoted tirade with a lot of stale and insincere bilge

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The shopping list for people who have decided to ride out the storm at home: plywood to board up their windows, sandbags, bilge pumps, generators, trash bags, potato chips, bottled water and wine. Fox News, "WHAT'S HAPPENING: Hurricane Florence looms over East Coast," 13 Sep. 2018 The young adult male, which rescuers named Gilbert, was drinking water from a boat's bilge pump at the marina. David Goodhue,, "Manatee freed after a year tangled in fishing line," 7 July 2018 Crocs and Kevlar gloves and weapons-grade sunglasses slosh around the bilge. Ben Lowy, Smithsonian, "The Lionfish Have Invaded, But a Ragtag Army of Divers and Chefs Are Fighting Back," 23 May 2018 But if the bilge filled up and the bilge pump failed, that would leave the motor submerged. Ian Mcnanie, Popular Mechanics, "How a 20-Year-Old With Zero Sailing Experience Fixed Up a Sailboat," 20 Mar. 2018 The time Microsoft’s chatbot Tay was trained by Twitter users to parrot racist bilge. Tad Friend, The New Yorker, "How Frightened Should We Be of A.I.?," 7 May 2018 The men had to sleep on the deck because the bilge backed up and the smell was so bad. Roxanne Washington,, "'Sailing for Science:' Historic 1920s voyage stocked Cleveland Museum of Natural Histrory's shelves," 25 Mar. 2018 They were transported to new areas as adults that had attached to the hulls or outside of engines of recreational boats or as microscopic larvae - veligers - hiding in bilge, live wells or other water-holding areas of boats. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Boaters key to slowing invasive species," 3 Mar. 2018 The cavernous bilge, the towering foredeck, the phalanxes of Tomahawk missiles — the 900-foot dreadnought is itself a mesmeric site, and director Andrew Davis conveys the hard-iron majesty, as well as mystery, of the battleship to the hilt. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Under Siege': THR's 1992 Review," 9 Oct. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of bilge


1513, in the meaning defined at sense 2b


1728, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bilge


probably modification of Middle French boulge, bouge leather bag, curved part — more at budget

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bilge

Statistics for bilge

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bilge

The first known use of bilge was in 1513

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bilge



English Language Learners Definition of bilge

: the bottom part of the inside of a ship or boat
informal : foolish or worthless statements or information

More from Merriam-Webster on bilge

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bilge Encyclopedia article about bilge

Comments on bilge

What made you want to look up bilge? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!