\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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


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


“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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

With the rotation bulging to six men now, and Jesus Luzardo’s imminent call-up making it seven, Blackburn should be used out of the bullpen primarily in long relief. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, "Welcome to the bigs — and Yankee Stadium — Sean Murphy," 1 Sep. 2019 Other parts were bulging alarmingly—and, for the dozens of families who had built homes atop them, perilously. The Economist, "India’s magnificent stepwells are relics of a nuanced history," 13 July 2019 While Arnautovic's wallet may be bulging, his career as a prominent footballer is over. SI.com, "Marko Arnautovic: A Toxic Talent Who Deserves the Footballing Oblivion Awaiting Him in China," 11 July 2019 The ground bulged up and out, and many small earthquakes occurred. Emilie Hooft, The Conversation, "We probed Santorini’s volcano with sound to learn what’s going on beneath the surface," 24 June 2019 This, of course, creates bulging makeup bags that have (literally) no place in Basic Economy. Akili King, Vogue, "This New Beauty Brand Wants to Make More Space in Your Makeup Bag," 14 Aug. 2019 Nine weeks ago, Taurasi had surgery to repair a bulging disc that was causing numbness and eventually atrophy in one leg. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: Diana Taurasi reaching her basketball and life goal every day, with plenty to say along the way," 12 July 2019 With his eyeballs bulging, Goggins practically yells Lemuel’s fire-and-brimstone sermons. Marella Gayla, BostonGlobe.com, "In ‘Them That Follow,’ there will be blood," 7 Aug. 2019 That’s got to be tough to pare down, when your house is just bulging with Amazon product. Luke Winkie, Vox, "Who are these people who write thousands of Amazon product reviews?," 14 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In Germany, where prior heat waves have caused asphalt on highways to bulge, drivers should be extra vigilant, the nation's weather service advised. Ivana Kottasová, CNN, "Europe prepares for scorching heat wave with public cooling rooms, mist showers and health warnings," 25 June 2019 The arms spread out from the galactic bulge at the center, which contains old stars and very little new star formation. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Stunning spiral galaxy spotted by Hubble," 24 July 2019 Farther east along Norfolk’s bulge, Tom Blofeld lives in Hoveton House, a Jacobean mansion his family built in 1680. Simon Usborne, Town & Country, "How Rumors of a Feud Between Kate Middleton and Rose Cholmondeley Captivated a Posh Corner of Britain," 5 Aug. 2019 Part of that bulge is the surge of baby boomers who are traveling, often to far-flung destinations. Los Angeles Times, "Does your foreign destination require travel insurance? Increasingly, yes," 26 July 2019 Brick-sized blocks of Libyan dinars bulge from suitcases or are spirited away in wheelbarrows. Nabih Bulos, latimes.com, "What’s for sale at this outdoor market? Cold, hard cash," 11 July 2019 And while the Morgan Stanley’s of the world were reportedly wining and dining early employees set to benefit from the recent IPO boom, the bulge bracket wealth managers typically require that clients have a certain level of liquidity. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Wealth Advisory Platform SecFi Closes $6 Million Funding Round," 19 July 2019 Before the financial crisis Deutsche was the biggest-spending and brashest of bulge-bracket firms. The Economist, "Deutsche Bank’s retreat ends European hopes of conquering Wall Street," 11 July 2019 So the tidal bulge that rises on the side of Earth nearest the moon spins just ahead of the orb. National Geographic, "Why does Earth have a moon, and how does it affect our planet?," 3 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bulge

Statistics for bulge

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bulge

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bulge



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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on bulge

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


miscellaneous remnants or debris

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!