\ ˈbəlk also ˈbu̇lk How to pronounce bulk (audio) \

Definition of bulk

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : magnitude impressed by the sheer bulk of her accomplishment
b biology : material that forms a mass in the intestine especially : fiber sense 1d need more bulk in their diet
2a : body especially : a large or corpulent human body he hauled his … bulk out of the armchair — Herman Wouk
b : an organized structure especially when viewed primarily as a mass of material the giant bulk of Mt. Katahdin— Jackson Rivers
c : a ponderous shapeless mass
3 : the main or greater part spent the bulk of his time in the office the bulk of the population
in bulk
1 : not divided into parts or packaged in separate units
2 : in large quantities buys rice in bulk


bulked; bulking; bulks

Definition of bulk (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to cause to swell or bulge : stuff bulk out a report with lots of graphs and charts
2 : to gather into a mass or aggregate

intransitive verb

1 : swell, expand
2 : to appear as a factor : loom a consideration that bulks large in everyone's thinking



Definition of bulk (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : being in large quantities or not divided into separate units : being in bulk bulk shipments of food bulk mailings
2 : of or relating to materials in bulk bulk prices

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for bulk

Synonyms: Noun

generality, lion's share, majority, mass, preponderance

Antonyms: Noun


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for bulk


bulk, mass, volume mean the aggregate that forms a body or unit. bulk implies an aggregate that is impressively large, heavy, or numerous. the darkened bulk of the skyscrapers mass suggests an aggregate made by piling together things of the same kind. a mass of boulders volume applies to an aggregate without shape or outline and capable of flowing or fluctuating. a tremendous volume of water

Examples of bulk in a Sentence


We spent the bulk of the summer at the beach. Farming makes up the bulk of the country's economy. The great bulk of these people are extremely poor. Despite his bulk, he's a very fast runner.


They sent bulk shipments of food to the country.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The war in question is over the Securities and Exchange Commission’s contention that cryptocurrencies ought to be regulated like securities when they are offered in bulk sales through something called an initial coin offering. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "The SEC's Kik Crypto Case Shows Just How Far Crypto Has To Go—Data Sheet," 6 June 2019 Underarm gussets on the garment also allow improved freedom of movement and the Covert fleece grew streamlined for fall by reducing bulk and seams and offering a minimalistic aesthetic. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Everything That Goes Into Making an Arc'teryx Jacket," 24 May 2019 Vogue reported that the gown caused suitcase drama on the flight to France, because the skirt’s shape wiring gave it serious bulk. Meagan Fredette, Teen Vogue, "Naomi Scott Won the Red Carpet in a Bubblegum Pink Brandon Maxwell Gown," 22 May 2019 Operators of tankers and of the bulk carriers that haul industrial raw materials, grains and other commodities may see trade flows shift direction but won’t see business diminish as long as Chinese demand holds up. Costas Paris, WSJ, "Trade Battle Looks Set to Roil Container Shipping," 14 May 2019 In these instances, Wish uses freight-forwarding services to ship these items in bulk from Chinese merchants to Wish’s U.S. warehouses. Jason Del Rey, Recode, "Trump’s latest China threat could crush the $8 billion Amazon competitor Wish. Here’s its plan to fight back.," 18 Oct. 2018 Specifically, the court said there wasn't enough independent scrutiny of processes used by British intelligence services to sift through data and communications intercepted in bulk. Fox News, "Court: British surveillance violates European law," 13 Sep. 2018 Private equity firms bought foreclosed single-family homes in bulk after the crisis and formed companies like Invitation Homes and American Homes 4 Rent to rent them out. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "10 years after the financial crisis, is the housing market still at risk?," 29 Aug. 2018 And even though the Polish hot dog is disappearing from the food court, devotees can take some comfort in knowing that it will still be sold in bulk—if that’s your kind of thing. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Costco Is Removing This Beloved Mainstay from Its Food Court Menus," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Dark rocks bulked silent and swift past the window, and the wheels clocked away like the cogs of a gigantic clock. Sylvia Plath, WSJ, "Sylvia Plath’s Lost Story, ‘Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom’: An Excerpt," 29 Dec. 2018 And the extensions did more than just bulk the hair up. Sophia Panych, Allure, "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2018: Why Charlotte Tilbury Didn't Use Highlighter on the Angels," 8 Nov. 2018 YouTube is also adding a tool to let creators bulk add or remove non-skippable ads and to track audience engagement and revenue flow from videos that include those types of ads. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "YouTube expands non-skippable ads to more creators," 24 Aug. 2018 Three years later, a bulked-up Bonds hit 73 with the Giants to set a record that still stands. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Sammy Sosa prolonging his exile from Wrigley Field," 28 June 2018 The deal would combine the nation's third- and fourth-largest wireless companies and bulk them up to a similar size to Verizon and AT&T, the industry giants. Mae Anderson, chicagotribune.com, "After AT&T-Time Warner win, is Comcast-Fox a done deal?," 13 June 2018 The deal would combine the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless companies and bulk them up to a similar size to Verizon and AT&T, the industry giants. Washington Post, "Comcast offer for Fox expected after favorable AT&T ruling," 12 June 2018 Blending banana to the chocolate mix is good too to bulk it up without adding a lot of calories. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "Danica Patrick shares her favorite dessert recipes, plus which one Aaron Rodgers loves," 21 June 2018 Zack Lanphier, who was ranger Zack del Pollo, is nearly unrecognizable as Burt, a mustachioed and bulked-up convict. Donna Freedman, Anchorage Daily News, "Tundra creator back with second feature-length film, ‘Sudsy Slim Rides Again’," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Sausage can be bulk ground sausage cooked and crumbled, sliced links, or (my personal favorite) shaped into patties like tiny sausage burgers. Paula Forbes, GQ, "How to Make a Better Breakfast Sandwich," 28 Mar. 2018 Costco has worked to keep prices for its bulk goods low and expanded its online product selection. Sarah Nassauer, WSJ, "Strong Economy Can’t Save Macy’s From Retail Shifts," 10 Jan. 2019 For instance, bulk food and toiletries are much harder to find elsewhere than televisions or microwaves. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "Here Are All the Stores That Will Price Match Costco," 27 Oct. 2015 The resulting bulk movement of atmospheric molecules is called an ionic wind. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Ion drive meets drone, as small plane flies with no moving parts," 21 Nov. 2018 Tiny versions of succulents may be adorable, but buying them in Costco's signature bulk style fashion is an entirely new addition to the plant game. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "PSA: Costco Is Selling Entire Succulent Gardens for $20," 13 Feb. 2019 In another public records case, a US district court judge ruled that the FCC must disclose email addresses that were used to submit bulk comments in the net neutrality repeal proceeding. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "“What is the FCC hiding?” Pai still won’t release net neutrality server logs," 3 Dec. 2018 Stick with bagged or bulk product purchased from home improvement stores or nurseries. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "How Much Mulch Do I Need? Here's the Easiest Way to Find Out," 6 Feb. 2019 The reality is that dangerous misogynists exist in every country, but only America gives them easy access to arsenals and bulk ammunition. Shannon Watts, Vogue, "Toxic Masculinity Is Killing Us," 31 Jan. 2019

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1529, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1693, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bulk

Noun, Verb, and Adjective

Middle English, heap, bulk, from Old Norse bulki cargo

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bulk

Dictionary Entries near bulk





bulk density


bulk eraser

Statistics for bulk

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bulk

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bulk



English Language Learners Definition of bulk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: most of something : the largest part of something
: the large size of someone or something



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

: of or relating to things that are sent or sold in large amounts


\ ˈbəlk How to pronounce bulk (audio) \

Kids Definition of bulk

1 : greatness of size or volume The chair is hard to move because of its bulk.
2 : the largest or chief part I've already finished the bulk of my homework.
in bulk
: in large amounts The restaurant buys rice in bulk.


\ ˈbəlk How to pronounce bulk (audio) \

Medical Definition of bulk

: material (as indigestible fibrous residues of food) that forms a mass in the intestine especially : fiber sense 2

Keep scrolling for more


\ ˈbəlk How to pronounce bulk (audio) \

Legal Definition of bulk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a large mass
in bulk
1 : not divided into parts or packaged in separate units
2 : in large quantities



Legal Definition of bulk (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : being in bulk bulk shipment of wheat bulk foods
2 : of or relating to materials in bulk bulk buyer

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on bulk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bulk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bulk

Spanish Central: Translation of bulk

Nglish: Translation of bulk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bulk for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bulk

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


standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

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!