billow

noun
bil·low | \ ˈbi-(ˌ)lō \

Definition of billow 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : wave especially : a great wave or surge of water the rolling billows of the sea

2 : a rolling mass (as of flame or smoke) that resembles a high wave Billows of smoke poured out of the building. billows of fog

billow

verb
billowed; billowing; billows

Definition of billow (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to rise or roll in waves or surges the billowing sea

2 : to bulge or swell out (as through action of the wind) billowing clouds … the flags … billowed out in pride … —G. B. Oxnam

transitive verb

: to cause to billow a field of burning grass billowing thick black clouds of smoke into the sky —Donald Windham

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Other words from billow

Noun

billowy \ˈbi-lə-wē \ adjective

Examples of billow in a Sentence

Noun

Billows of smoke poured out of the burning building. the rolling billows of the sea

Verb

the curtains in the open windows billowed in the summer wind
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

From the blazing buildings crimson and golden tongues of flame arose that illuminated the rising billows of smoke. Mary Horlock, Longreads, "The Camouflage Artist: Two Worlds Wars, Two Loves, and One Great Deception," 21 June 2018 Pasadena is struggling to end suicides from the span without diminishing its historic beauty From its western entrance, Pasadena’s Colorado Street Bridge billows gently to the left 150 feet above the Arroyo Seco. Matthew Segal, Los Angeles Magazine, "The Complicated Case of the Colorado Street Bridge," 18 June 2018 There’s a faint whirring noise as the blade sinks into the skeleton, and clouds of coral dust billow in the surrounding water. Elizabeth Svoboda, Scientific American, "Cores from Coral Reefs Hold Secrets of the Seas’ Past and Future," 6 June 2018 Boot-heel billows of trail dust from a gravel parking lot. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Review: Love or something like it at Texas 46 BBQ," 31 May 2018 AThe hydrochloric acid steam cloud billows into the air, along with fine particles of glass. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Hawaii on edge as lava reaches power plant: 'No one has faced this before'," 22 May 2018 The big brawls occur inside cartoon-style billows of smoke. Colin Covert, idahostatesman, "Wes Anderson’s animated ‘Isle of Dogs’ is a delight with bite | Idaho Statesman," 12 Apr. 2018 And for me, this steamy, dreamy, hunger-inducing billow of exotic mist – rising up into the atmosphere from dozens of tabletop pots bubbling in the dining room – offered the promise of a new adventure. Craig Laban, Philly.com, "Warming up to Chinese hot pot at Little Sheep," 5 Apr. 2018 After placing the 11 objects on outcroppings adorning one of the statues designed by Chicago artist Dave Carlson, the Seekers watched steam billow from pipes overhead as a lullaby-like tune played. Eric Thurm, WIRED, "An Alternate Reality Game That Takes Freshmen Orientation to a New Level," 25 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The ongoing fountains of lava can be seen billowing from a volcanic fissure as Hawaii's Kilauea volcano as the 20th day of ongoing eruptions sends lava into the Pacific Ocean and threatens a geothermal power plant. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Hawaii man describes 'powerful and hot' lava bomb snapping his leg in half," 23 May 2018 Petrus glanced toward the Gothic-style brick building, constructed before 1900, to see black smoke billowing. Lauren Caruba, San Antonio Express-News, "Ten years after fire, OLLU thriving," 4 May 2018 Videos posted on social media showed black smoke billowing from the mall’s roof and windows, and people jumping from upper floors to escape the flames, with nothing below to cushion their fall. Ivan Nechepurenko, New York Times, "Trapped in Russian Mall Fire, Children Said Farewell by Phone," 26 Mar. 2018 The unorthodox design includes the industrial steel exterior which curls out from under the bridge, creating a billowing atrium with a sloping skylight that brightens the home. Alex Bazeley, Curbed, "Sculptural steel home built into a 19th-century railway bridge wants $1.4M," 9 July 2018 Novack has the ability to lift the veil, or in Talley’s case, the billowing caftans, that have shrouded him in certain mystery. Elizabeth Wellington, Philly.com, "Black fashion superhero André Leon Talley finally gets his due in new documentary," 6 June 2018 Barefoot and beachy on her big day in 1998, Crawford was the picture of bliss, trading the formality of a billowing crepe gown and voluminous updo for sheer, unfettered simplicity. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Cindy Crawford's Throwback Wedding Picture Proves Beach Waves Are a Timeless Win," 30 May 2018 Models navigated through a Joan Miró sculpture on a hilltop in a scenic French village, wearing billowing tops, tall sneaker-boots, and cowboy hats. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Louis Vuitton’s Cruise Show Was an Homage to Grace Coddington," 29 May 2018 Videos and pictures submitted to KLFY-TV show massive plumes of smoke that were billowing from the FlowChem Technologies plant located in the town Duson. Peter Martinez, CBS News, "Fire breaks out at chemical plant in Louisiana, prompting evacuations – live updates," 3 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'billow.' 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 billow

Noun

1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1592, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for billow

Noun

Old Norse bylgja; akin to Old High German balg bag — more at belly

Verb

see billow entry 1

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Statistics for billow

Last Updated

21 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for billow

The first known use of billow was in 1552

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More Definitions for billow

billow

noun

English Language Learners Definition of billow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a moving cloud or mass of smoke, steam, etc.

: a large wave

billow

verb

English Language Learners Definition of billow (Entry 2 of 2)

: to move as a large cloud or mass

: to be pushed outward by air

: to rise or roll in waves

billow

noun
bil·low | \ ˈbi-lō \

Kids Definition of billow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a large wave … the billows rose and fell unbroken. —Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island

2 : a moving cloud or mass (as of smoke or flame)

billow

verb
billowed; billowing

Kids Definition of billow (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to rise or roll in large waves the billowing ocean

2 : to move as a large cloud or mass Smoke billowed from the chimney.

3 : to bulge or swell out Sails billowed in the breeze.

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Comments on billow

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