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 But this popped bubble of South Florida consciousness like this one. Dave Hyde, sun-sentinel.com, "Hyde5: It’s all on Diaz - and all about Butch; five thoughts on FIU upset of UM," 24 Nov. 2019 Bouncing Babies and Little Movers story time is one to one fun with songs, stories, American Sign Language, bubbles, and fingerplays, for ages 6 months to 24 months. courant.com, "Community News For The Windsor Locks Edition," 20 Nov. 2019 Slowly whisk in fortified stock mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, letting it bubble, thicken and incorporate completely between additions until all of it has been added. The New York Times News Service Syndicate, The Denver Post, "Small kitchen, big Thanksgiving," 18 Nov. 2019 On a third-quarter first down play near midfield, Chubb and Hunt sandwiched Mayfield in the backfield presnap but Hunt used jump motion to bubble along the right perimeter, behind two split out receivers. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "The future of Browns’ backfield looks bright featuring both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt together," 10 Nov. 2019 Starting in October, usually, and lasting all through the winter and into spring, the jetstream shifts southward, causing ripples of pressure that turn into a persistent bubble of high pressure over the North American great basin—the western states. Wired, "Shifting Winds and the Changing Shape of California Fires," 29 Oct. 2019 The provision was meant to prevent the types of abusive mortgages that proliferated during the housing bubble, ones with low, short-term teaser rates or huge monthly payments. Damian Paletta, Anchorage Daily News, "Federal agencies dramatically expand exposure to risky mortgages, echoing concerns before Great Recession," 3 Oct. 2019 These bubble, slip and tunnel screens have to develop quickly, and are difficult to block for more than a couple of seconds. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "Why IU football is encouraged by quarterback Michael Penix's development," 2 Oct. 2019 The team sits on the playoff bubble, and the official USL playoff tracker has Legion FC sitting at a 57 percent chance to make the postseason. Cheryl Wray, al, "Legion FC goes on road Monday night against last-place team," 29 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Although use of the term spiked this year, the idea of cancel culture has been bubbling for a while. Sarah Hagi, Time, "Cancel Culture Is Not Real—At Least Not in the Way People Think," 21 Nov. 2019 In recent weeks the Epstein story has been bubbling up again. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’," 13 Nov. 2019 In fact, Monstress has taken on a whole new dimension with the addition of Maika Halfwolf’s father, whose secret machinations have apparently been bubbling under the surface of the plot for awhile now. Christian Holub, EW.com, "5 comics to read in October, full of old wars and new changes," 2 Oct. 2019 It's believed Rakitić's price could drop below €35m in the winter window due to Ernesto Valverde no longer having the Croatian in his plans, and the rumours of a move to Italy have been bubbling to the surface for a number of transfer windows. SI.com, "6 Players Inter Should Be Looking to Sign During the January Transfer Window," 30 Oct. 2019 The dispute between federal and local law enforcement has been bubbling for months. Washington Post, "Feds to experiment with allowing police officers to wear body cameras on task forces," 28 Oct. 2019 And while no formal push for reparations has begun, the subject has been bubbling up quietly since earlier this year, when experts identified the wreckage of the slave ship Clotilda. San Diego Union-Tribune, "America’s last slave ship could offer a case for reparations," 5 Oct. 2019 The 35-year-old from Topeka, Kansas fulfilled the promise that has been bubbling for years, developing a short game and putting stroke to match his prodigious driving distances. Rob Hodgetts, CNN, "Gary Woodland: How a Special Olympics golfer inspired new US Open champion," 17 June 2019 Japan has almost 13,000 traditional onsen inns, where bathers go unclothed in big communal baths heated by geothermal energy that’s bubbled up to the surface. Washington Post, "Private Equity Sees Opportunity in Getting Naked With Strangers," 18 Sep. 2019

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

27 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Bubble.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bubbling. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on bubble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bubble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bubble

Spanish Central: Translation of bubble

Nglish: Translation of bubble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bubble for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bubble

What made you want to look up bubble? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


very cautious or careful

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