\ 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 Tire boots—thick rubber patches—will hold together most gashes, but if the rip is large and ragged, the tube may bulge through. Joe Lindsey, Outside Online, 1 June 2021 Reflections in the brass base of the lamp bulge out, convex, contorted, unlike real objects below. Owen Thomas, The Christian Science Monitor, 6 Apr. 2021 Their tails wag, their eyes bulge, and their bark is almost certainly bigger than their bite. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, 21 Dec. 2020 His arms, once spindly by NBA standards, now bulge with muscles. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, 3 Dec. 2020 An assiduous public-relations campaign has ensured that the newspapers bulge with profiles of him and his photogenic family. The Economist, 28 Nov. 2020 Ballots bulge with so many initiatives they might be better described as booklets. Tim Arango, New York Times, 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, 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, 28 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There’s a similar bulge on the opposite side of the planet due to inertia of the water. Brian Mcnoldy, The Conversation, 23 Apr. 2021 In the simplest terms, the moon’s gravitational pull creates a bulge in the ocean water that is closest to it. Brian Mcnoldy, The Conversation, 23 Apr. 2021 Greater Boston has a demographic bulge of people hitting their early 30s, which are traditionally prime home-buying years, Ratiu notes. BostonGlobe.com, 7 Apr. 2021 Sometimes a spinal cord gets pushed outward creating a bulge. Christopher Borrelli, chicagotribune.com, 24 Feb. 2021 During the lunar perigee, the mass of the moon tugs on Earth and expands the tidal bulge. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, 31 Mar. 2021 Officers are trained, for example, to recognize the unusual gait of a person carrying a gun, or a telltale bulge in pants or a jacket pocket, indicators used as probable cause to stop and search someone for a firearm. Washington Post, 11 Mar. 2021 The National Association of Memoir Writers has seen its membership bulge. Peter Funt, WSJ, 21 Mar. 2021 After the spring bulge in cases and deaths, Shelby County Health Department Director Robert Lewis hoped the worst had passed. Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star, 14 Mar. 2021

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

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bulge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bulge. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on bulge

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bulge

Nglish: Translation of bulge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bulge for Arabic Speakers


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