Share this entry

Share this page

bubble

Syllabification: bub·ble
Pronunciation: /ˈbəb(ə)l
 
/

Definition of bubble in English:

noun

1A thin sphere of liquid enclosing air or another gas.
Example sentences
  • Her wet-sleeved urchin takes advantage of the soapy water to blow bubbles.
  • Holding her breath, she dove into the water and blew bubbles.
  • She had created this illusion with her faith, as one makes bubbles, blowing on soap water.
1.1An air- or gas-filled spherical cavity in a liquid or a solidified liquid such as glass or amber.
Example sentences
  • Drawn beads are produced from a bubble of molten glass that is drawn into a long hollow tube.
  • Stirring the mortar sample for 30 seconds releases entrained air bubbles into a viscous liquid at the base of a column of water.
  • One that caught my eye seemed to be a mass of bubbles in blown glass.
Synonyms
globule, bead, blister;
air pocket;
(bubbles)sparkle, fizz, effervescence, froth, head
2Used to refer to a good or fortunate situation that is isolated from reality or unlikely to last: we both lived in a bubble, the kind provided by occupying a privileged pied-à-terre in Greenwich Village
More example sentences
  • Granted, RMS lives in his own little bubble half the time
  • "Truthfully, to me, it seems like college students are in their own little bubble," he said.
  • I live in my own little bubble, completely obsessed with my own world and nothing else.
2.1Used to refer to a significant, usually rapid, increase in asset prices that is soon followed by a collapse in prices and typically arises from speculation or enthusiasm rather than intrinsic increases in value: the US economy squandered trillions as a result of the 1990s stock market bubble many companies enjoyed rapid expansion before the bubble burst
More example sentences
  • Well, even after the bubble burst, housing prices continued to rise.
  • Low interest rates have helped generate a housing bubble that has lifted real estate prices to ludicrous heights in major parts of the country.
  • Then, the bubble burst and thousands of investors were ruined.
3A transparent domed cover or enclosure: piglets born into a sterile bubble
More example sentences
  • What we need to do is to enclose the entire ground in a gigantic transparent plastic bubble.
  • Will we one day have to undergo scores of vaccinations in order to feel safe, or live in sterile bubbles?
  • He held up a black cylinder the size of a pen that had a red button on the top, which was covered by a hard plastic safety bubble.
3.1A place or position that is protected from danger or unpleasant reality: they are not on tour packages seeing foreign ports from a bubble
More example sentences
  • Isolationists live in bubbles and are not aware that they will burst.
  • How can distances to objects be surveyed beyond our neighborhood bubble?
  • It was getting harder for the little man to maintain his bubble of safety but he fought on.
4 (also bubble shell) A marine mollusk that typically has a thin scroll-like shell.
  • Bullidae and other families, order Cephalaspidea, class Gastropoda
Example sentences
  • When the animal dies, the shells often wash up on beaches and are hard to distinguish from the bubbles produced by waves splashing on the shore, hence the name ‘bubble shells.’
  • This little bubble was sorted out of shell grit collected from 10 meters of water. Anakena Beach, Easter Island. March, 1998.
  • We do not know enough about the the other sea-slugs, in particular the Bubble Shells, even to make a reasonable guess of their numbers

verb

[no object] Back to top  
1(Of a liquid) contain bubbles of air or gas rising to the surface: a pot of soup bubbled away on the stove
More example sentences
  • She saw the boats pulling away from the docks and the water foamed and bubbled beneath them.
  • She stirred a pot of stew that bubbled above the fire.
  • Meanwhile Andrew lived simply on a diet of mussels and whelks and the occasional boiled crab that bubbled in the pot.
Synonyms
sparkle, fizz, effervesce, foam, froth
boil, simmer, seethe, gurgle
1.1 (often as adjective bubbling) Make a sound resembling this: a bubbling fountain
More example sentences
  • The aim of the bubbling fountains is to create water sounds which are meant to be soothing.
  • The use of rhythm is usually absent, in favor of floating bass and bubbling sine waves.
  • Not far away is Rotorua, a tourist spot famed for its steam, geysers, bubbling mud and foul, sulphurous smells.
1.2 (bubble with or over with) (Of a person) be exuberantly filled with an irrepressible positive feeling: Ellen was bubbling with such enthusiasm
More example sentences
  • The hoteliers, restaurants and bars are more than happy with this development and are bubbling with enthusiasm for the calibre of their new hard-working recruits who actually volunteer for overtime to reach their saving goals.
  • His mind is bubbling with ideas to help improve the West of Ireland.
  • Davy Conway can contribute a lot more from play while Michael John Tierney often looks too complacent on the ball while bubbling with self-confidence.
Synonyms
overflow, brim over, be filled, gush
1.3 (bubble up) (Especially of a negative feeling) become more intense and approach the point of being vehemently expressed: the fury bubbling up inside her
More example sentences
  • The stories that spring to mind while looking at this work are both humorous and unsettling, bubbling up from one's unconscious like twisted fairy tales.
  • I had to suppress a hysterical giggle bubbling up inside of me.
  • Well, this has been sort of bubbling up for the past few years.

Origin

Middle English: partly imitative, partly an alteration of burble.

Phrases

burst someone's bubble

1
Shatter someone’s illusions about something or destroy someone’s sense of well-being.
Example sentences
  • The other part of me was worried that Betty might not believe me, or even if she did, might resent me for being the one to burst her bubble and it could ruin the close relationship we now shared.
  • But when it comes right to your doorstep and bursts your bubble, well that's a different story.
  • Men may like to keep this myth going, but I'm bursting your bubble, boys.

on the bubble

2
North American informal (Of a sports player or team) last or among the last awaiting news about qualifying for the final place in a competition.
[from sit on the bubble, with the implication that the bubble may burst]
Example sentences
  • The minor leaguers mostly know where they're headed for the summer, and there are just a few souls on the bubble, waiting for an injury to the front line guy so they can make the major league roster.
  • Wakefield was on the bubble, close to being released.
  • Some say he's on the bubble but, after tonight, maybe not.

Definition of bubble in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day verbose
Pronunciation: vərˈbōs
adjective
using more words than are needed…