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

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 bubbleteams still on the bubble for the playoffs
7 : 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
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 bubbling (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 Phoenix nearly made it after an 8-0 run in the bubble, but came up just short of the play-in tournament for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Suns: Ricky Rubio taking Chris Paul trade to heart," 19 Nov. 2020 Only the Western Conference used the tournament in the bubble since the final two seeds had less than a five-game lead following the eight-game restart. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "Play-in tournament for final playoff seeds will return for 2020-21 NBA season," 18 Nov. 2020 His 22 3-pointers during the Magic’s 13 games in the bubble (eight seeding games, five playoff games) ranked third behind Nikola Vucevic (34) and Terrence Ross (25). Roy Parry, orlandosentinel.com, "Breaking down Orlando Magic roster ahead of free agency," 18 Nov. 2020 The Suns' success without him in the bubble will hurt his value. Nat Newell, The Indianapolis Star, "NBA free agency 2020: Who's available? Who should the Pacers sign?," 16 Nov. 2020 After the WNBA season ended in the bubble at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., Carleton went back to her native Canada and quarantined for two weeks. Kent Youngblood, Star Tribune, "For Lynx players overseas, challenges continue in 2020," 15 Nov. 2020 As the Blazers surged in the bubble, winning a variety of close and thrilling games to reach the playoffs, Kent guided Rip City through the journey. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "Portland Trail Blazers hire Jordan Kent as new television play-by-play broadcaster," 9 Nov. 2020 Droplets carrying particles of the virus could hang in the air inside these bubbles, says airborne transmission researcher Linsey Marr of Virginia Tech, especially if the air in the bubble grows stale. Robin Lloyd, Scientific American, "Coronavirus News Roundup, October 31-November 6," 6 Nov. 2020 The Dodgers swept the Milwaukee Brewers, the National League’s No. 8 seed, to move on to play the Padres in the National League Division Series in the bubble in Texas. Los Angeles Times, "The road to a Dodgers World Series title was one never before traveled," 2 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This is particularly important with fruit pies, as this way, the bubbling fruit won’t bubble over the edge of the pan onto your oven floor. Melissa Weller, Bon Appétit, "A Pastry Chef’s Extremely Detailed Guide to Your Best Pie Ever," 17 Nov. 2020 Divisions over politics and policy regularly bubble to the surface. Michael Smolens Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: San Diego’s Democratic surge was a long time in the making," 5 Nov. 2020 However, what has previously been a debate on low boil now threatens to bubble over. Washington Post, "Ukraine seeks U.N. cultural status for beloved borscht. A culinary spat with Russia could be brewing.," 21 Oct. 2020 Of course, no amount of research can override the emotions that bubble up around managing such a cruel and debilitating disease. Dan Snierson, EW.com, "This Is Us star Mandy Moore on portraying Rebecca's dementia, season 5, and flash-forward hints," 21 Oct. 2020 The river’s water would be shallower and would bubble over rocky riffles and drop out in deep, calm pools. Jack Distel, Star Tribune, "The Mississippi drawdown showed us what a free-flowing river would be like," 13 Oct. 2020 Live music and clubs like that were where the bands would bubble up from. Chris Varias, The Enquirer, "Sudsy Malone’s building on Short Vine has been demolished. Let's reminisce," 5 Oct. 2020 Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered congregations in Covid-19 hotspots to reduce in-person capacity in early October, after cases began to bubble up in parts of the state. Anna Sturla, CNN, "Judge rules against Brooklyn Diocese in Covid-19 lawsuit," 16 Oct. 2020 Singapore, for instance, wants to bubble up with low-risk Vietnam, New Zealand and most of Australia. Niharika Mandhana, WSJ, "Covid-19 Travel Bubbles Were Set to Restore Flying but Haven’t Taken Off," 14 Oct. 2020

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

24 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bubble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bubble. Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for bubble


How to pronounce bubble (audio)

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.

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