noun, often attributive
bub·​ble | \ ˈbə-bəl How to pronounce bubble (audio) \
plural bubbles

Definition of bubble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a small globule typically hollow and light: such as
a : a small body of gas within a liquid
b : a thin film of liquid inflated with air or gas
c : a globule in a transparent solid
d : something (such as a plastic or inflatable structure) that is hemispherical or semicylindrical
2a : something that lacks firmness, solidity, or reality
b : a delusive scheme
3 : a sound like that of bubbling
5 : a state of booming economic activity (as in a stock market) that often ends in a sudden collapse
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
7a : 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 4 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 Players, coaches, league staff and NBC media have been confined to either the training facility or the SpringHill Suites in Draper, which the league bought out for the vast majority of the PLL [Premier Lacrosse League] traveling contingent. Some people are housed at the dormitories a short distance away from the facility. The entire PLL bubble consists of less than 300 people. There have been no positive COVID-19 tests since establishing the bubble.— Alex Vejar 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
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


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

Definition of bubble (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : 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
3a : 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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for bubble

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Players haven't been named since NBA started testing last year entering the Orlando bubble to resume the 2019-20 season, but Phoenix is the only team to announce a player has been placed under health and safety protocols since June 9. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 19 June 2021 But in a weird way, the bubble gave us some really good exposure. Shannon Ryan, chicagotribune.com, 19 June 2021 Living in a training bubble to keep out COVID-19, the 28-year-old hasn’t seen her family for a year. Fortune, 19 June 2021 The Islanders were playing the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the games were staged in a sequestered bubble in Edmonton, Alberta, where spectators were barred because of the coronavirus pandemic. New York Times, 18 June 2021 Pepsi has a positive but overbought weekly chart with its weekly slow stochastic reading above 90.00, as an inflating parabolic bubble. Richard Henry Suttmeier, Forbes, 18 June 2021 The team concluded that some time before Betelgeuse started to dim, the star ejected a large gas bubble that moved away from it, in part propelled by the pulsating star. Katie Hunt, CNN, 16 June 2021 Lumber prices, which surged to record levels this year, have started to come down, suggesting that a speculative bubble that had developed in lumber prices is beginning to deflate. Martin Crutsinger, Star Tribune, 16 June 2021 Boil for 5 minutes after the mixture begins to bubble. Washington Post, 16 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Black Lives Matter and reparations bubble up in my head and gut especially now that the Republicans are feverishly working on suppressing minority voting. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, 18 June 2021 Long hours at home this year have allowed certain questions to bubble to the surface. Anna Russell, The New Yorker, 3 June 2021 Bake for 45-50 minutes, top should be browned and juice may bubble through the lattice top (a pan or foil under pie pan saves cleaning). Beth Segal, cleveland, 4 June 2021 Small amounts of this gas can sometimes sneakily bubble out and reach the soil up top. Robin Andrews, Forbes, 31 May 2021 Thundershowers bubble up PM hours Sunday in advance of a cool front #1. Paul Douglas, Star Tribune, 29 Apr. 2021 Showers and storms may bubble up Sunday, with frequent T-storms next week and highs surging into the 70s, even a shot at 80s. Paul Douglas, Star Tribune, 11 May 2021 The hard seltzer market continues to bubble up as more and more products come to market. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 11 May 2021 Speculation of a romance between the two began to bubble up in March, when Davidson was spotted spending time around Manchester, England, where Dynevor has been living with her mom amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Eric Todisco, PEOPLE.com, 26 Apr. 2021

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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

History and Etymology for bubble


Middle English bobel

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Time Traveler for bubble

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for bubble

Last Updated

22 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bubble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bubble. Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for bubble



English Language Learners Definition of bubble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a tiny, round ball of air or gas inside a liquid
: a small ball of air in a solid substance
: a very light ball of air inside a thin layer of soap



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

: to form or produce bubbles
: to flow with the quiet sound of water moving over rocks
: to be very happy and excited


bub·​ble | \ ˈbə-bəl How to pronounce bubble (audio) \

Kids Definition of bubble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

Other Words from bubble

bubbly \ ˈbə-​blē \ adjective


bubbled; bubbling

Kids Definition of bubble (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to form or produce bubbles
2 : to flow with a gurgle The brook bubbles over rocks.

More from Merriam-Webster on bubble

Nglish: Translation of bubble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bubble for Arabic Speakers


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