Definition of bilge in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /bilj/


1The area on the outer surface of a ship’s hull where the bottom curves to meet the vertical sides.
Example sentences
  • The consensus is that the insured should have had a non-combustible tarpaulin or heat retardant blanket of some form hung from the top of the bilge area down to the bottom of the bilge against the exhaust port hole on the inside of the boat.
  • The 55m patrol vessel uses a steel monohull with a round bilge semi-displacement hull, incorporating very fine V-shaped frames in the forward sections.
  • The grid is bonded to the hull throughout the bilge.
1.1 (bilges) The lowest internal portion of the hull.
Example sentences
  • We can find it in collection holding tanks, salt water lines, bilges, void spaces, and storage tanks.
  • Federal regulations do not address tank installations in bilges of boats, nor must tank materials be tested for corrosion resistance.
  • Salt water and wet bilges will expedite the deterioration, although 10-15 years is a reasonable life expectancy.
1.2 (also bilgewater) Dirty water that collects inside the bilges.
Example sentences
  • Other discharges include 37,000 gallons of oily bilge water and 15 gallons of toxic waste from dry-cleaning, painting and photograph-processing.
  • The moisture could be the water in which the boat is sitting and which permeates the gel coat or it could be bilge water from inside the hull.
  • Even better news is that certain synthetic materials in the polypropylene family can pick up the oil and leave the water behind, enabling you to discharge clean bilge water.
2 informal Nonsense; rubbish: romantic bilge dreamed up by journalists
More example sentences
  • And I say alas because the stuff aired in the morning is bilge and drivel - I fear the day Gnat is interested in this stuff, because it's incredibly boring.
  • I contemplated not responding to this sickening bilge, but I realised your attitudes are most likely based in your lack of coherent thought patterns and an ignorance of history.
  • I can't believe there is someone getting around calling himself Reverend espousing such vile bilge.


[with object] archaic
Break a hole in the bilge of (a ship): she was hopelessly bilged, her back broken
More example sentences
  • It is the responsibility of the government that it bilged the boat of democracy.
  • In ten minutes after the first concussion, and while the engines were still turning astern, the ship, as stated, struck again under the engine room, bilging the side several feet, and tearing open the bottom.
  • As an auxiliary to the bilging by boring, the masts are often cut away under the pretence of making her "lie easy," or to prevent "thumping."


Late 15th century: probably a variant of bulge.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bilge

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.