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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Last season’s Challenge Cup, which was held in a bubble environment in Utah, wasn’t a direct replacement for the regular season. Jeremy Mikula, chicagotribune.com, 19 Nov. 2021 Going ashore presents additional challenges since the vaccinated bubble onboard the ship becomes less secure when people intermingle with non-passengers. Ramsey Qubein, Condé Nast Traveler, 19 Nov. 2021 Tokyo, which was under a state of emergency during the summer games, also created an Olympic bubble, restricting access to the athlete village and venues. Fortune, 19 Nov. 2021 Plus, the soft squishy texture of the dumpling and the popping out of their body also cleverly plays into the current bubble fidget poppers toy craze. Parija Kavilanz, CNN, 19 Nov. 2021 At times, theatrics and loaded language bubble to the surface. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, 18 Nov. 2021 This experience foreshadowed a mid-aughts subprime-lending crisis in which Memphis emerged as a case study in the ways the housing bubble disproportionately affected Black buyers and communities. New York Times, 18 Nov. 2021 While showers occur on Thursday to the north and west of the state, a bubble of high pressure off the mid-Atlantic coast will ridge into the region bringing partly sunny skies and unseasonably mild temperatures with highs in the 60s. courant.com, 18 Nov. 2021 Then, there was Chet Lo at Fashion East, who showed mini skirt sets and halter-neck dresses with contrasting, bold colours, paired with oversized bags in a bubble-like finish and spiky sandals. Frances Solá-santiago, refinery29.com, 17 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Baking soda and vinegar live on opposite ends of the pH scale, so mixing them causes a chemical reaction that’ll bubble up like a school science project. Bon Appétit, 8 Oct. 2021 The lakes — where the Ogallala should bubble up and tens of thousands of migrating Sandhill cranes gather in good years — are dry, too, save for muddy streaks darkening the lakebed. Tammy Webber, Chron, 9 Sep. 2021 Resentments bubble away; crises are managed, not resolved; time is played for; reform is incremental and then, suddenly, unilateral; and, in the end, stasis reigns. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, 2 Nov. 2021 Are things going to stay quiet between them, or will their tensions bubble over eventually? Justin Curto, Vulture, 25 Oct. 2021 But if your lower esophageal sphincter is malfunctioning for some reason, those acids can bubble their way back up into your esophagus, causing a burning sensation. Elizabeth Millard, SELF, 19 Oct. 2021 After morning fog patches dissipate, skies are generally bright, but a few midday and afternoon clouds may bubble up. Washington Post, 24 Sep. 2021 The writers bubble with optimism for their next adventure. Steven Levy, Wired, 25 Oct. 2021 In a matter of minutes, the sauce will bubble and the cheese will brown. Ali Slagle, Bon Appétit, 14 Sep. 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

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

25 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bubble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bubble. Accessed 29 Nov. 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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