Definition of bulge in English:

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Pronunciation: /bəlj/


1A rounded swelling or protuberance that distorts a flat surface.
Example sentences
  • The rounded bulge of its roof was visible above the dry-stone dyke.
  • The hernia may look like a bulge or swelling in the groin area.
  • They calculate that the plume's buoyancy, as inferred by seismic imaging, is just enough to produce a bulge in the overlying surface that matches the superswell in size and height.
swelling, bump, lump, protuberance, prominence, tumescence
1.1(Especially in a military context) a piece of land that projects outward from an otherwise regular line: the advance created an eastward-facing bulge in the line
More example sentences
  • This is particularly true along the boundaries of the crescent-shaped Islamic bloc of nations from the bulge of Africa to Central Asia.
  • The larger part of the main forces belonged to the 10th army concentrated in the central part of the WSMD in the Bialystok bulge area.
  • The Germans planned powerful attacks from the areas near Orel and Belgorod toward Kursk to surround and destroy the Soviet forces within the bulge.
1.2 [in singular] informal A temporary unusual increase in number or size: a bulge in the birth rate
More example sentences
  • We who were born in the mid 50's are the biggest bulge of the baby boom cohort.
  • As the demographics I discussed earlier change, and as the baby boomers retire and the bulge flows through, there will be a huge increase in the cost of New Zealand superannuation.
  • That's a long time - long enough to weather most of the baby-boomer bulge.
surge, upsurge, rise, increase, escalation


[no object]
1Swell or protrude to an unnatural or incongruous extent: the veins in his neck bulged (as adjective bulging) he stared with bulging eyes
More example sentences
  • He could feel the blood pumping through the veins that were starting to bulge out of the neck muscles.
  • Sometimes it can be genuinely disabling without the right treatment, if a nerve is trapped or a disc is bulging.
  • Its order books are bulging and profits are up 70% on the back of a soaring aerospace market.
swell, stick out, puff out, balloon (out), bug out, fill out, belly, distend, tumefy, intumesce;
project, protrude, stand out
1.1Be full of and distended with: a briefcase bulging with documents
More example sentences
  • Tony must feel like a man who has a wallet bulging with notes in one hand and a clutch of pressing bills in the other.
  • Newspapers bulge with travel advertisements and articles telling us about the wonders of the world.
  • He was carrying several shopping bags, bulging with packets and tins.



Pronunciation: /ˈbəljē/
Example sentences
  • The lobby has bulgy sofas and an open wood fire; you can eat your tea and scones here, or in the equally cosy sitting room.
  • The astronauts end up with bulgy faces, sinus congestion, and a lot of edema in the upper body.
  • It's better than weight training, because it lengthens your muscles rather than making them bulgy.


Middle English: from Old French boulge, from Latin bulga (see budget). The original meaning was 'wallet or bag', later 'a ship's bilge' (early 17th century); other senses presumably derived from association with the shape of a full bag.

  • budget from Late Middle English:

    When the British Chancellor of the Exchequer holds up the battered case containing details of his budget speech, he may or may not know that he is making a gesture towards the origin of the word. A budget was originally a pouch or wallet. The word came from French in the late Middle Ages, and goes back to Latin bulga ‘leather sack, bag’, from which English also gets bulge (Middle English).

Words that rhyme with bulge

divulge, indulge, promulge

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bulge

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