\ ˈbəlj also ˈbu̇lj How to pronounce bulge (audio) \
bulged; bulging; bulges

Definition of bulge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to jut out : swell
b : to become swollen or protuberant … a pair of arresting pale blue eyes that tend to bulge maniacally …— Jeremy Egner
c : to bend outward prevent the brick wall from bulging
2 : to be filled to overflowing a notebook that bulged with ideas
3 archaic : bilge

transitive verb

: to cause to bulge


plural bulges

Definition of bulge (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a protuberant or swollen part or place a bulge in the wall trying to get rid of the bulge around his middle
2 : sudden expansion a population bulge
3 : advantage, upper hand letting them get the bulge on you
4a : bilge sense 1 the bulge of a barrel
b nautical : bilge sense 2

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Other Words from bulge


bulgy \ ˈbəl-​jē How to pronounce bulgy (audio) also  ˈbu̇l-​ \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for bulge


projection, protrusion, protuberance, bulge mean an extension beyond the normal line or surface. projection implies a jutting out especially at a sharp angle. those projections along the wall are safety hazards protrusion suggests a thrusting out so that the extension seems a deformity. the bizarre protrusions of a coral reef protuberance implies a growing or swelling out in rounded form. a skin disease marked by warty protuberances bulge suggests an expansion caused by internal pressure. bulges in the tile floor

Examples of bulge in a Sentence

Verb His face turned white and his eyes bulged. middle-aged people bulging at the waist Their bags bulged with books and papers. The squirrel's cheeks were bulging with nuts. a notebook bulging with ideas Noun “What's in there?” he asked, pointing to the large bulge in my purse. I'm exercising to get rid of this bulge around my middle.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb What ruptured that Sunday in 2017 was an undiagnosed brain aneurysm: a bulging, soft spot in an artery in the brain that burst. Adrian Walker, BostonGlobe.com, "Tom Tinlin was lucky to survive his aneurysm. Now he’s advocating for other survivors," 19 Jan. 2020 Lea disputes those eye-bulging estimates, but admits that his own seasonal hit has left him more than comfortably-off -- and far outstripped any of Slade's other chart-toppers. Rob Picheta, CNN, "Writing a Christmas hit is big business -- but most artists fall short," 20 Dec. 2019 Especially since the freezer was bulging with all those still Uncut ’n’ Unbaked rolls of cookie dough. Aloïse Buckley Heath, National Review, "A Trapp Family Christmas," 19 Dec. 2019 The eyes look very bulging from this perspective, and the odd visual has garnered more than 121,000 likes in a day’s time. Ashley Hoffman, Time, "'Pug X-Ray Photo' Melts Down Internet for Being Simultaneously Cute and Creepy," 19 Dec. 2019 But on the other side of the world, the ocean is also bulging. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "How Do Tides Work?," 25 Sep. 2019 Spain's La Liga is bulging at the seams with top players and world class talent. SI.com, "8 of the Best La Liga Players You May Not Have Heard of," 21 Sep. 2019 New Mexico’s general fund is bulging amid an oil production boom. Los Angeles Times, "New Mexico weighs tuition-free college for local students," 18 Sep. 2019 Olive could see that Ann’s stomach bulged through her black stretch pants, although her arms seemed skinny in her white nylon blouse. Elizabeth Strout, The New Yorker, "Motherless Child," 29 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But the bulge, with enough water to fill a Jacuzzi, was sagging directly above the campfire. National Geographic, "This Vietnamese national park is a spice lover’s dream," 18 Jan. 2020 His file for the article bulges with careful interview notes. oregonlive, "Revenge of Portland’s ‘blonde babe’: Teen prostitute told all about reform-school lesbians during 1959 vice scandal," 4 Nov. 2019 Within our home’s 1920s arts-and-crafts era walls, these new plans made its cramped square feet bulge even more. Christine Kalafus, Longreads, "Renovating a Family," 28 Dec. 2019 The star’s bulge lags behind WASP-12b, slowing its rotation and dragging it inwards into a lower orbit. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "This pitch-black exoplanet is spiraling toward its doom," 2 Jan. 2020 No back fat bulge showing, no pants pinching, just soft, pretty cotton creating an uber-flattering silhouette. Courtney Thompson, CNN Underscored, "Move over Amazon coat, the 'nightgown dress' is going viral," 21 Oct. 2019 Yeah, his eyes are kind of bulge-y, like a Chihuahua’s. BostonGlobe.com, "Louie came from a shelter in Rhode Island, and every time we’d bring him to the neighborhood dog park, people would ask — or hypothesize — about what breed the little white fluffer might be. Havanese? Malti-poo? Bichon Frise?," 13 Oct. 2019 The skull had a prominent brow ridge, a larger area below the eye sockets, and — most distinctively — a bulge at the back that resembles hair tied in a bun. Stephanie Demarco, latimes.com, "210,000-year-old skull in Greece is earliest sign of modern humans in Europe or Asia," 10 July 2019 There the Allies were no match for the stunning onrush of German soldiers, artillery, and tanks that would in a matter of days push a dangerous bulge in the Allied line. Bill Newcott, National Geographic, "WWII veterans remember Hitler's 'last gamble'," 13 Dec. 2019

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1622, in the meaning defined at sense 4b

History and Etymology for bulge


Middle English bolgen


Middle English boulge, bouge leather bag, curved part, from Anglo-French bouge bag — more at budget

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Time Traveler for bulge

Time Traveler

The first known use of bulge was in the 15th century

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Statistics for bulge

Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bulge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bulge. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for bulge


How to pronounce bulge (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bulge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to stick out in a rounded lump
: to be completely filled with something



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

: a rounded lump on the surface of something
: a sudden increase


\ ˈbəlj How to pronounce bulge (audio) \
bulged; bulging

Kids Definition of bulge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to swell or curve outward Muscles bulged from his shirt.



Kids Definition of bulge (Entry 2 of 2)

: a swelling part : a part that sticks out

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More from Merriam-Webster on bulge

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bulge

Spanish Central: Translation of bulge

Nglish: Translation of bulge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bulge for Arabic Speakers

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