\ 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

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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for bulk

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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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

Noun 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. Adjective They sent bulk shipments of food to the country.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Those 15 pitchers represent the bulk of the Tigers' future, and that's before counting the position players who also played with Numata. Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, "Why some Detroit Tigers prospects have a new motto: 'Live Like Numi'," 16 Feb. 2020 The bulk of the negotiations between the United States and the Taliban happened in 2019, one of the most violent years on record. Mujib Mashal, New York Times, "A U.S.-Taliban Deal Hinges on Reducing Violence. It Might Work Like This.," 13 Feb. 2020 The bulk of the students studied remotely via Concordia’s online classes. oregonlive, "Concordia closure to cost more than 1,500 jobs," 12 Feb. 2020 Most diets across Asia and Africa consist of a carbohydrate core such as rice or maize, which provides calories and bulk, and a sauce, stew or soup for flavor and nutrients. Dominic Glover, The Conversation, "The Philippines has rated ‘Golden Rice’ safe, but farmers might not plant it," 7 Feb. 2020 It was formed through the merger of Computer Sciences Corp. and a spinoff of the bulk of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.’s technology-services operations. Agam Shah, WSJ, "DXC Hires GE Executive as CIO," 6 Feb. 2020 The Baltic Dry Index, a gauge of bulk shipping costs, fell Friday for the 10th consecutive session and is now down 49 percent this year. David J. Lynch, Washington Post, "Virus threatens U.S. companies’ supply of Chinese-made parts and materials," 2 Feb. 2020 The bulk of the money that supports the House of Windsor — sometimes called The Firm — flows through the reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. TheWeek, "How the Royals get their money," 2 Feb. 2020 The bulk of its production in Mexico, at least 80 percent, will be sold to U.S. customers, analysts says. Randy Diamond, ExpressNews.com, "Toyota’s Tacoma shift follows new trade deal, no-tariffs assurance," 27 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb His remarks were made as a bulked-up Bristol-Myers will now attempt to blend the product portfolios and R&D machines that the two companies possess. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Having gobbled up Celgene, the Bristol-Myers CEO ducks questions about his key rival," 21 Nov. 2019 That means that the agricultural industry, when using these antibiotics as bulking agents, is allowing mass numbers of drug-resistant bacteria to become part of our food chain. K.n.c., The Economist, "How what’s in our heads changes what’s in the world," 15 Nov. 2019 To the west, the ice sheet bulked vast and gray behind the peaks. Paul Voosen, Science Magazine, "A project to monitor every aspect of a fast-shrinking glacier could hold an answer to an urgent question: How fast will seas rise?," 10 Oct. 2019 The 6-foot-5 redshirt sophomore entered preseason camp with the confidence of his coaches, the respect of his teammates, a bulked-up frame and determination to earn the right to lead the offense. Chaunte'l Powell, orlandosentinel.com, "FSU names James Blackman Seminoles’ starting quarterback," 25 Aug. 2019 Fan cucumbers onto a plate before piling up a mound of Indonesian Style Rice (Nasi Goreng), above, for texture and to bulk out a meal. Kari Sonde, Washington Post, "Tips and recipes to make the most of your cucumbers," 18 July 2019 Americans are increasingly picking up tops and trousers from a retailer better known for its no-frills warehouses and bulk everything. Washington Post, "Costco quietly becomes a destination for clothes," 28 June 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Most communities do not receive unlimited yard waste and bulk waste pick up. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Woodlands officials happy with renewed trash services contract," 19 Feb. 2020 Ship broker Clarksons PLC said deliveries of new tankers, bulk ships and container ships would also likely be delayed over the coming months because of the slowdown from the coronavirus. Costas Paris, WSJ, "Coronavirus Toll on Shipping Reaches $350 Million a Week," 10 Feb. 2020 Its core business is running a fleet of 3,500 barges carrying bulk materials, mostly on the Mississippi River. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "The Jeffboat parent company is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy," 4 Feb. 2020 In more culinary politics news, Al Jazeera gives us a fascinating glimpse into how one movement in India is being fed: with gallons upon gallons of chai, bulk vegetarian briyani and biscuits. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "4 Bay Area restaurants to try now," 3 Feb. 2020 In 2018, the International Energy Agency reported that global petrochemical demand had nearly doubled since 2000, outpacing consumption of other bulk materials like steel, aluminium or cement. Benjamin Storrow, Scientific American, "Plastics Plants Are Poised to Be the Next Big Carbon Superpolluters," 24 Jan. 2020 Some bags are exempt, however, such as bulk bags or bags used for privacy and sanitary purposes. oregonlive, "Bag bedlam: Confusion surrounds Oregon’s new 5-cent bag fee," 4 Jan. 2020 For this project, Wil Srubar, a materials scientist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and his colleagues wanted to engineer life into a bulk structural material. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "‘Frankenstein’ material can self-heal, reproduce," 15 Jan. 2020 And what about the green beans, apples, and bulk nuts? Krista Kafer, The Denver Post, "Kafer: Single-use plastic is a problem but a bag ban is not the answer, not yet," 22 Aug. 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for bulk

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for bulk

Last Updated

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bulk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bulk. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for bulk


How to pronounce bulk (audio)

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

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\ 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on bulk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bulk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bulk

Spanish Central: Translation of bulk

Nglish: Translation of bulk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bulk for Arabic Speakers

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