Definition of bellows in English:


Line breaks: bel|lows
Pronunciation: /ˈbɛləʊz


[also treated as singular]
  • 1 (also a pair of bellows) A device with an air bag that emits a stream of air when squeezed together with two handles, used for blowing air into a fire: stoking up the fire with the bellows
    More example sentences
    • He opened an agricultural museum which included a gigantic pair of bellows, seven or eight feet tall.
    • They blow bellows at them to simulate a strong wind and then light torches to simulate the imagined layer of fire in the sky.
    • When dry, any loose smalt was to be brushed off with a feather or blown off with a bellows.
  • 1.1A device similar to a pair of bellows used in a harmonium or small organ.
    More example sentences
    • Clavichords were particularly popular with organists because they could practise on them at home instead of in a cold church, and without the need to pay someone to pump the organ bellows.
    • The poor starving little church mice had chewed their way through the bellows of the church organ.
    • I wondered what powered it, since it didn't have a bellows like an accordion or pipe organ, and he didn't seem to be blowing into it.
  • 2An object or device with concertinaed sides to allow it to expand and contract, such as a tube joining a lens to a camera body.
    More example sentences
    • We knew we would have to magnify the drop for final measurements, so we used a medium-format camera and 120-millimeter macro lens on a bellows.
    • Such calculations work out very neatly if you always double your focal length, but get a bit more complicated for odd bellows or lens extensions.
    • The bellows moves a valve body in accordance with pressure introduced into the pressure sensing chamber.


Middle English: probably from Old English belga, plural of belig (see belly), used as a shortened form of earlier blǣstbelig 'blowing bag'.

More definitions of bellows

Definition of bellows in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day skosh
Pronunciation: skōSH
a small amount; a little