Share this entry

bulk Syllabification: bulk

Definition of bulk in English:


1The mass or magnitude of something large: the sheer bulk of the bags
More example sentences
  • Yet, the sheer weight and bulk of detail in this Department report are an indication that things are happening - and have been happening for a considerable time.
  • As greater mass and bulk are added to provide specific protection, discomfort escalates.
  • Make the pockets out of lining or lightweight fabrics to reduce bulk.
size, volume, dimensions, proportions, mass, scale, magnitude, immensity, vastness
1.1A large mass or shape, for example of a building or a heavy body: he moved quickly in spite of his bulk
More example sentences
  • A study in strength when he was playing, Matthews has added bulk to almost every Lion and it has worked.
  • From an early age he was fat, perhaps seeking in food both the bulk to defend himself and the comfort he could not find at home.
  • Arriving at the dockside, you are reminded of the sheer bulk of the ship.
1.2 [as modifier] Large in quantity or amount: bulk orders of more than 100 copies
More example sentences
  • Their differences are resolved when Bell agrees only to sell his eggs in large bulk orders that Windy could never fulfil.
  • Anything that can break down the bulk adoption of textbooks by states would certainly help.
  • What now seems to be in fashion in Bulgaria is the bulk registration of sensible names to be put on bid afterwards and sold for much higher fees.
1.3 (the bulk) The majority or greater part of something: the bulk of the traffic had passed
More example sentences
  • Rents and taxes from the offshore sector make up the bulk of the income of the State.
  • They did keep the bulk of their forces outside the city, as they were asked to do.
  • The rented homes sector is where the bulk of Park Lane's growth has come from in the last few years.
majority, main part, major part, lion's share, preponderance, generality;
most, almost all
1.4Roughage in food: bread and potatoes supply energy, essential protein, and bulk
More example sentences
  • Dietary fiber - also known as roughage or bulk - includes all parts of plant foods that your body can't digest or absorb.
  • Insoluble fiber provides bulk or roughage to your diet, but you don't digest it.
  • Stevia, on the other hand, is used in such tiny amounts that it doesn't provide any bulk or volume to foods.
1.5Cargo that is an unpackaged mass such as grain, oil, or milk.
Example sentences
  • In 1974 there were 9 ships handling bulk cargo, including grain, iron ore, limestone, salt, sand and coal.
  • To boost profits, it switched some carriers from dry bulk cargoes to coal, and raised freight rates for coal along the coastal region.
  • Georgia is also expanding the dry bulk cargo handling facilities of its Black Sea ports.


Back to top  
1 [no object] Be or seem to be of great size or importance: territorial questions bulked large in diplomatic relations
More example sentences
  • The site is architecturally important for buildings of the Archaic and Classical periods, and it bulks large in our corpus of Archaic architectural sculpture, for the most part of imported stone.
  • The list of famous acquaintances and friends bulks large in the book's index.
  • If the altar controversy bulked large to Charles, to Laud it was a matter of ‘indifference’.
2 [with object] Treat (a product) so that its quantity appears greater than it in fact is: traders were bulking up their flour with chalk
More example sentences
  • However, the Food Standards Agency found last year that imported chicken meat is sometimes bulked out with water, increasing the weight by as much as a third.
  • Why Watson bulked out his modest little story to such extravagant length, alas, we shall never know.
  • Still, a large part of the adoration must be nostalgia for past glories on the basis of the dreary recent material which bulked out their set.
2.1 [no object] (bulk up) Build up body mass, typically in training for athletic events.
Example sentences
  • These are excellent foods for bulking up and adding muscle mass, but they can add some body fat if overconsumed.
  • He later went on to star at the University of Minnesota where he would take his training to a new level and bulk up to his current proportions.
  • Those may be appropriate for hardgainers, powerlifters or trainers who want to bulk up in the offseason and need insulin and calories to do so.


Middle English: the senses 'cargo as a whole' and 'heap, large quantity' (the earliest recorded) are probably from Old Norse búlki 'cargo'; the origin of other senses remains uncertain, perhaps arising by alteration of obsolete bouk 'belly, body'. The original senses are also reflected in the phrases break bulk and in bulk.


in bulk

1(Especially of goods) in large quantities, usually at a reduced price: buying tomatoes in bulk from a local farmer
More example sentences
  • They both have the advantage of selling more than one brand and, as they buy in bulk, prices are often lower than list.
  • These wines are then on promotion at the store for the month of July, and come with a case price for those wanting to buy in bulk.
  • What's more, the biggest buyer is the government, which buys in bulk at a very low price.
2(Of a cargo or commodity) loose; not packaged: sugar is imported in bulk and bagged on the island
More example sentences
  • After rapid estufagem in tank, the wine is aged for about 18 months before being shipped in bulk, often having been coloured and sweetened with caramel.
  • We never buy tea in bulk and store it because it tends to lose its flavour.
  • The compost created at the Compton Bassett plant will be named Warrior Compost and will be available to the public in bags or in bulk.

Words that rhyme with bulk

hulk, skulk, sulk

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.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day doofus
Pronunciation: ˈdo͞ofəs
a stupid person