\ ˈbəlj How to pronounce bulge (audio) also ˈbu̇lj \
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 bulge (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 Their tails wag, their eyes bulge, and their bark is almost certainly bigger than their bite. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "How to Clone Your Dog," 21 Dec. 2020 His arms, once spindly by NBA standards, now bulge with muscles. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors need Andrew Wiggins to add heft to his play on both sides of court," 3 Dec. 2020 An assiduous public-relations campaign has ensured that the newspapers bulge with profiles of him and his photogenic family. The Economist, "Bagehot Rishi Sunak, Thatcherite at heart," 28 Nov. 2020 Ballots bulge with so many initiatives they might be better described as booklets. Tim Arango, New York Times, "A Big Win for Democrats in California Came With a Gut Check for Liberals," 5 Nov. 2020 As the ice grows and expands, and gaseous pressure continues to build, the frozen capsule may bulge at the surface, creating a small hill known as a pingo. Maya Wei-haas, National Geographic, "Colossal crater found in Siberia. What made it?," 23 Sep. 2020 While our field of view is approximately 180 degrees, feline and canine eyes bulge out a little to expand their peripheral vision past 200 degrees. Popular Science, "How cats and dogs see the world," 28 Aug. 2020 Excess seems to warp or bulge out of every frame, and every story line wants to go writhing off on its own. James Parker, The Atlantic, "The New David Copperfield Movie Might Be Better Than the Book," 9 Aug. 2020 Seal stuffed burgers with remaining balls of ground beef, and with hands, form finished patties that lay flat and do not bulge. ExpressNews.com, "Recipe: Stuffed Italian Burgers," 8 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Tharsis bulge is home to Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system, the Science Times reported. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "New photos reveal massive canyon on Mars, the largest in the solar system, NASA says," 5 Jan. 2021 As fears mount of a bulge of post-holiday cases, several hospital systems, from Kaiser Permanente to Sutter Health and Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, are postponing non-emergency surgeries. Chronicle Staff, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus updates from the Bay Area: Dec. 24-30," 1 Jan. 2021 The euphoria over the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine has encouraged a surge of optimism that’s resulting in a huge bulge in credit card debt — even among people whose income has been impacted by the pandemic. Terry Savage, chicagotribune.com, "Terry Savage: Credit card euphoria will lead to nasty hangover," 31 Dec. 2020 The Knicks opened the final period with seven straight points for a 103-75 bulge. Stefan Bondy, courant.com, "Payton leads Knicks to rout of Bucks for first victory under Thibodeau," 27 Dec. 2020 Officer Jarrett Tonn spotted Monterrosa with a bulge in his sweatshirt pocket and shot him from the back seat of a police pickup truck. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "After decades of quiet, Bay Area prosecutors seek to hold police accountable for on-the-job killings," 23 Nov. 2020 The long-lasting warm pattern is the result of a persistent bulge or ridge in the jet stream developing over the eastern U.S., which will promote air flow from the south. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "D.C. starts what could be historic stretch of November warmth," 5 Nov. 2020 Nothing on a car says big power like a long hood with a big bulge. Steve Siler, Car and Driver, "7 Easter Eggs Found on Nissan's Sexy Z Proto," 3 Nov. 2020 For the industry, that bulge of settlements -- plus others -- removes the threat of stiffer fines if President Donald Trump loses this week and challenger Joe Biden installs more aggressive regulators to take over active probes. Lananh Nguyen, Bloomberg.com, "Banks Pile Up Fines Under Trump, Casting Light on Misconduct," 3 Nov. 2020

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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Learn More about bulge

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

30 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bulge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bulge. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on bulge

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