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

Definition of bubble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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
2a : something that lacks firmness, solidity, or reality A dream of what thou wast … a breath, a bubble— William 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
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
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

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
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun West Virginia, Florida, Texas and D.C. are on the bubble. Andrew Van Dam, Washington Post, 5 Aug. 2022 Players on the bubble will have one last shot to finish in the top 125 of the FedEx Cup standings to earn a spot in the playoffs and a full card next season. The Salt Lake Tribune, 31 July 2022 Players on the bubble will have one last shot to finish in the top 125 of the FedEx Cup standings to earn a spot in the playoffs and a full card next season. Larry Lage, oregonlive, 31 July 2022 On the outside looking in are currently Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Erik Jones and Austin Dillon (in addition to the rest of the field, but those drivers aren’t quite on the bubble). Michelle R. Martinelli, USA TODAY, 29 July 2022 So teams on the bubble this year are likely to be hoping to find their own Eddie Rosario or Jorge Soler. Benjamin Hoffman, New York Times, 26 July 2022 Noteworthy are a few guest acting stars that aren’t predicted but on the bubble that could increase that number (Justin Kirk, Arian Moayed and Alexander Skarsgård). Clayton Davis, Variety, 7 July 2022 The Baltimore/Washington bid was considered by national reporters to be on the bubble among the more than one dozen U.S. cities that applied. Emily Opilo, Baltimore Sun, 17 June 2022 After spending the weekend on the tournament bubble, the Tide was not chosen for the 64-team field that was announced Monday morning. Mike Rodak | Mrodak@al.com, al, 30 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As the story progresses, full-bodied textures bubble up and crescendo. Cathy Applefeld Olson, Billboard, 25 July 2022 Media days will bubble the battle back to the surface, however, at least for a few interviews. Brent Zwerneman, San Antonio Express-News, 17 July 2022 These conditions bubble up in neighborhoods, leading to a higher likelihood of law enforcement interactions, Ormseth said. San Francisco Chronicle, 29 June 2022 But during the summertime, the flow switches to be out of the south, introducing a taste of Gulf of Mexico moisture, and storms bubble up during the heat of the day. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, 21 June 2022 Let the jars rest in the canner for 10 more minutes to help prevent siphoning (when the boiling ingredients bubble up under the lid, breaking the seal). Anna Voloshyna, Washington Post, 17 June 2022 The need for organizations to become more agile and innovative for customers doesn’t mean that every task or area needs to bubble with creativity and reinvention. Luc Hennekens, Forbes, 28 Oct. 2021 The oil should bubble immediately, but no dark smoke should visibly rise from the oil. Minerva Orduño Rincón, USA TODAY, 7 Apr. 2022 This is a classic war story told simply and well, its meanings not forced but allowed to bubble up on their own. New York Times, 14 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About bubble

Time Traveler for bubble

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near bubble



bubble and squeak

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Statistics for bubble

Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bubble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bubble. Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for bubble


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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