: the usually roundish pod or capsule of some plants (such as cotton or flax)

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Paul Ollerton pulled white locks off a cotton boll. The Arizona Republic, 9 Feb. 2023 The bluebonnet has been Texas’ state’s flower since 1901 and beat out the cotton boll and the cactus for that title, according to Texas A&M archives. Dallas News, 11 Apr. 2022 Cotton boll weevils, which originated in Mexico, were first identified in Beeville, Tex., in 1894. Mary Beth Gahan, Washington Post, 7 Oct. 2022 In October's first computer boll based on ratings from, Moeller, Badin and Wyoming are all top seeds in their respective divisions. Scott Springer, The Enquirer, 4 Oct. 2022 Tross posted about the incident on Facebook last week, including a photo of the boll of cotton that her daughter took home from school. Justin Murphy, USA TODAY, 2 May 2022 Prior to the storm’s landfall, much of the Louisiana and Mississippi cotton crops were in open boll stage. Jim Foerster, Forbes, 8 Sep. 2021 As children in the 1960s, Collier and his siblings worked the cotton fields around Black Swamp, lugging burlap sacks up and down long rows and pulling white bolls from between the plants’ needle-like stems. Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2020 Many bolls are left unpicked owing to labour shortages. The Economist, 8 Apr. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'boll.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of boll was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near boll

Cite this Entry

“Boll.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the usually roundish pod of some plants
cotton bolls

Biographical Definition


biographical name

ˈbəl How to pronounce Böll (audio)
Heinrich Theodor 1917–1985 German writer

More from Merriam-Webster on boll

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