\ 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 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 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 There is, of course, a German word for it: Hamsterkäufe, meaning to shop like a nervous, bulging-cheeked hamster. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "We Are All Irrational Panic Shoppers," 5 Mar. 2020 But there were three enormous shopping bags bulging with food, household supplies and sanitary wipes brought by a younger friend. Washington Post, "What we are learning about ourselves and each other during the pandemic," 18 May 2020 Later, the arteries could bulge, leading to an aneurysm. Molly Longman, refinery29.com, "What Is Kawasaki Disease, The Rare Illness That Might Impact Kids With COVID-19?," 5 May 2020 Steel inventories are already bulging, according to Myllyvirta, an apparent bet by manufacturers that the central government will support a large construction boom. Benjamin Storrow, Scientific American, "5 Ways the Economic Upheaval of Coronavirus May Impact CO2 Emissions," 6 Apr. 2020 Clear plastic bags bulging with fresh vegetables and fruit filled chairs once occupied by customers at the yellow one-story, 90-year-old house. Vincent T. Davis, ExpressNews.com, "Community offers groundswell of support to help San Antonio area restaurant stay open," 28 Mar. 2020 But, without hesitating, Dyson hopped out of his chair, pulled open some file cabinets, and produced several thick folders, bulging with letters. David Kaiser, The New Yorker, "Freeman Dyson’s Letters Offer Another Glimpse of Genius," 5 Mar. 2020 Once on the ground, the crew would roll out like business travelers, unload their bags—bulging with electronic equipment and burglary tools—and get to work. Geoff Manaugh, The Atlantic, "The Rise and Fall of an All-Star Crew of Jewel Thieves," 17 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Chefboybonez jumped for joy after advancing and did a celebratory eye-bulge, to Vergara's horror. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "'AGT' recap: Sofia Vergara falls in her haste to get away from shocking eye-bulging rapper," 24 June 2020 This is caused by the moon's gravity tugging on the planet, which creates a temporary bulge in the planet. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Saturn's moon Titan is rapidly migrating away from the planet," 10 June 2020 Moreover, there is a more aggressive hood contour than on the regular 4-series, even though the massive bulge of the current M4 disappears. Laura Sky Brown, Car and Driver, "This Is the Next BMW M4, Revealed in Leaked Photo," 5 June 2020 From May 7, eruptive activity became more frequent and dramatic as the bulge grew, sometimes slower, sometimes faster. Robin George Andrews, New York Times, "The Mount St. Helens Eruption Was the Volcanic Warning We Needed," 18 May 2020 Huff would drive in Creek’s seventh run with a groundout while a triple by Edwards and a single from Aranzeta widened the bulge to 9-0. Ted Dunnam, Houston Chronicle, "Softball: Clear Creek tops Clear Brook, 10-1, in district opener," 4 Mar. 2020 The stadium held its breath, everyone expecting to see the net bulge, but then came the noise of 40,000 disbelieving groans as Arsenal's captain dragged his shot wide of the post. Matias Grez, CNN, "Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left distraught after shock miss in dying seconds costs Arsenal," 28 Feb. 2020 There were my stretch marks; there were the folds of fat on my back; there was the bulge of my stomach. Seija Rankin, EW.com, "Preview Jennifer Weiner's Big Summer, the newest novel from the queen of beach reads," 5 May 2020 As Earth rotates underneath, the bulges move around it -- one always facing the moon, the other directly opposite. Fox News, "5 interesting facts about the moon," 16 Mar. 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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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

21 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bulge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bulge. Accessed 13 Jul. 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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