bubble

1 of 2

noun

bub·​ble ˈbə-bəl How to pronounce bubble (audio)
plural bubbles
1
: a small globule that is typically hollow and light: such as
a
: a small body of gas within a liquid
air bubbles in the water
bubbles rising in champagne
b
: a thin film of liquid inflated with air or gas
soap bubbles
c
: a globule in a transparent solid
… the bubbles and blisters typical of 19th century glass.Packaging Magazine
d
: something (such as a plastic or inflatable structure) that is hemispherical or semicylindrical
With the ground apt to warm up to 110 degrees or so, and a greenhouse effect inside the glass bubble of the cockpit, … the pilot has to endure temperatures that may exceed 120 degrees.Laurence Gonzales
2
a
: something that lacks firmness, solidity, or reality
A dream of what thou wast … a breath, a bubbleWilliam Shakespeare
b
: a delusive or fraudulent scheme or undertaking
often used in the capitalized names of specific bubbles
At about the same time as the South Sea episode, France was going through a financial lunacy of its own, the so-called Mississippi Bubble. Stocks in a fanciful scheme for developing the Louisiana wilderness rose so rapidly that, in 1719, an investment of a few thousand livres yielded millions in a matter of weeks.Kevin Jackson
3
: a sound of or like that of bubbling or gurgling liquid
bubbles of laughter
The pauses in the dull beating of the surf were filled up by … the cold faint bubble of the brook over its stony bed.Wilkie Collins
4
5
: a state of booming economic activity (as in a stock market) that often ends in a sudden collapse
With Wall Street otherwise limping along, the health-care industry is making investment bankers feel better than they have since the tech bubble burst.Linda Stern
… the housing bubble, which allowed working-class and middle-class families to raise their standard of living despite income stagnation or downward job mobility.Don Peck
6
: the condition of being at risk of exclusion or replacement (as from a tournament)
usually used in the phrase on the bubble
teams still on the bubble for the playoffs
7
a
: an enclosed or isolated sphere of experience or activity in which the like-minded members of a homogeneous community support and reinforce their shared opinions
the liberal/conservative bubble
Countless people … complain that Facebook employees are increasingly living in a bubble.Nick Bilton
b
: a usually small group of people (such as family members, friends, coworkers, or classmates) who regularly interact closely with one another but with few or no others in order to minimize exposure and reduce the transmission of infection during an outbreak of a contagious disease : pod entry 3 sense 2
A quarantine bubble is a group of individuals or families whose members have been safely quarantining and who can now start hanging out with other observant groups, so long as the families observe safety guidelines and agree to be exclusive.Jennifer Weiner
If students suspect that they have the virus or test positive, they will move into a separate isolation housing complex, and university officials will trace their contacts. After the second round of testing, students will be expected to remain in designated cohorts or social bubbles, limiting contact with others.Danielle Echeverria
c
: an area within which sports teams stay isolated from the general public during a series of scheduled games so as to prevent exposure to disease and that includes accommodations, amenities, and the location at which the games are held
In the days leading up to the NBA's Florida reboot, New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick contemplated what provisions to bring for a stay in the Orlando bubble that would last at least five weeks. He initially focused only on the necessities and packed light. Then on July 8, once he arrived with the Pelicans at their appointed hotel, the Yacht Club, Redick gauged his room and hotel amenities.Baxter Holmes
The NHL "bubble" consists of limited areas in two hub cities—Edmonton and Toronto—where team personnel will be required to remain as the league tries to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Each club is taking up one floor in a designated hotel. Other access areas include arenas, practice facilities, dining destinations (hotel restaurants and bars, and conference areas where food is brought in) and "other demarcated areas (indoor and outdoor)," according to the league's Phase 4 protocols.Tom Gatto
d
: a series of scheduled games that is played between sports teams staying in a bubble
Oklahoma City … has already clinched a playoff spot and is 3-3 in the bubble.Reuters

bubble

2 of 2

verb

bubbled; bubbling ˈbə-b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce bubble (audio)

intransitive verb

1
a
: to form or produce bubbles
b
: to rise in or as if in bubbles
usually used with up
2
: to flow with a gurgling sound
a brook bubbling over rocks
3
a
: to become lively or effervescent
bubbling with good humor
b
: to speak in a lively and fluent manner

transitive verb

1
: to utter (something) effervescently
2
: to cause to bubble
Phrases
burst someone's bubble
informal : to cause someone to suddenly realize that something believed, trusted, or admired is not really true, good, etc.
I hate to burst your bubble high school seniors, but, for most of you, the dreaded cafeteria food isn't going to get any better.Sarah Tarr

Examples of bubble in a Sentence

Noun They saw air bubbles in the water. There were bubbles in the ice. The Internet stock bubble finally burst. Verb the soapy water bubbled down the drain
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
In her first post, a mirror selfie, the Only Murders in the Building star wore a mesh shirt with dragon details over a tank top, a bubble miniskirt and a pair of knee-high black boots. Bailey Richards, Peoplemag, 24 Feb. 2024 Add a cup of the trendiest bubble tea, and his bill for the day normally amounts to no more than $60. Chris Lau, CNN, 24 Feb. 2024 A number of Wall Street analysts have also pushed back on the dotcom bubble narrative. Will Daniel, Fortune, 23 Feb. 2024 Highlights will include live music, food trucks, a bubble party, face painting, a local vendor market, hands-on activities, a basketball giveaway for kids, a writing workshop/open mic and photo opportunities with the Big Heads of The Parade Company. Brendel Hightower, Detroit Free Press, 23 Feb. 2024 Analysts have been warning of a bubble for some time as markets defy months of high inflation and rising interest rates, as the S&P 500 rose more than 24% last year. Byryan Hogg, Fortune Europe, 21 Feb. 2024 This prevents painful gas bubbles from forming in a baby’s stomach. Laura Lu, Ms, Parents, 19 Feb. 2024 Putin appears to be surrounded by a bubble of spoofing, likely as protection against drone attacks. David Hambling, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 If that holds, the Ducks likely will be on the wrong side of the NCAA bubble. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, 7 Feb. 2024
Verb
That cure came not just by divine intervention, but likely also by skilled healers with knowledge of human anatomy and maladies and an understanding of the curative properties of the hot mineral water that still bubbles up all over the valley. Elizabeth Heath, Discover Magazine, 17 Feb. 2024 The battle to build the best ski chalet has been bubbling over on mountainsides worldwide since the 1950s. Tom Weijand, Robb Report, 15 Feb. 2024 There are myriad bubbling brooks darting between patches of standing water. Jason Thomson, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 Feb. 2024 Embellished with swirling, spikey synths this dub drenched instrumental highlights Family Man’s booming bassline that snakes its way around skanking guitars, bubbling keys and Fela Kuti-esque horns. Patricia Meschino, Rolling Stone, 4 Feb. 2024 Return to the heat; once the mixture is bubbling, reduce heat to low. Bonnie S. Benwick, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 Bake until the top is golden brown in spots and the filling is bubbling, about 45 minutes. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 8 Feb. 2024 Talk about Russian troops using the satellite service bubbled up on Ukrainian social networks and media last week. Aliaksandr Kudrytski, Fortune, 8 Feb. 2024 Amazement and wonder bubbled up in the Mattituck High School Alumni Facebook group about how the letter remained intact for 32 years – and how it was found just a few miles from the high school. Sarah Engel, CNN, 7 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bubble.' 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 bobel

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of bubble was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near bubble

Cite this Entry

“Bubble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bubble. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

bubble

1 of 2 verb
bub·​ble ˈbəb-əl How to pronounce bubble (audio)
bubbled; bubbling
-(ə-)liŋ
1
: to form or produce bubbles
2
: to flow with a gurgling sound
a brook bubbling over rocks
3
: to be or become lively
bubbling with joy

bubble

2 of 2 noun
1
: a tiny round body of air or gas in a liquid
bubbles in boiling water
2
: a thin film of liquid filled with air or gas
soap bubbles
3
: a round body of air inside a solid
a bubble in glass

More from Merriam-Webster on bubble

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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