Definition of billow in English:
1A large undulating mass of something, typically cloud, smoke, or steam.
- Flying in across a track of pearl and gold laid by the setting sun across the Atlantic, I watched the island shape itself as a dark mass hardening from a billow of pink sea-level clouds.
- As I turn around, the cheering cries of the people are almost as deafening as the explosion blows the homemade rocket into the clouds amidst billows of white smoke.
- She felt rejuvenated by the water as it washed over her and breathed deep the billows of steam clouding the air like an impregnable fog.
1.1 archaic A large sea wave.
- They fought the billows and the waves; their brave hearts failed them not.
- All the waves and billows of that wrath passed over Him.
- For thou didst cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood was round about me; all they waves and they billows passed over me.
verb[no object, with adverbial of direction] Back to top
1(Of fabric) fill with air and swell outwards: her dress billowed out around her (as adjective billowing) a billowing skirt and shirt
More example sentences
- She was sure, though, running at break neck speed, fabric billowing behind her, that something on the outside was now trying to break through.
- Pierce had not shifted his gaze from the Spanish ensign, but she suspected that he no longer saw the red and yellow fabric billowing in the breeze.
- In a single motion, she had pulled the gown from her shoulders, sending the light fabric billowing onto the floor.
1.1(Of smoke, cloud, or steam) move or flow outward with an undulating motion: smoke was billowing from the chimney-mouth (as adjective billowing) all I could see was thick, billowing smoke
More example sentences
- By evening, huge clouds of smoke still billowed from the ruins.
- As mortars aboard the ammunition truck exploded, they set a nearby fuel tanker truck ablaze, sending clouds of black smoke billowing into the sky.
- Det Garda McHale told the hearing that flames and thick clouds of smoke were billowing from a back window.
mid 16th century: from Old Norse bylgja.
- Example sentences
- According to the show's host, big and billowy are this year's watchwords for bridal wear, and green could be this year's hot colour - despite old myths about the colour's potential to influence a marriage in the wrong way.
- Endless stretches of water, gleaming rivers and gliding boats framed within the vibrant shades of green paddy fields and blue skies dotted with billowy white clouds.
- No other land is in sight, only an ocean without end and its own billowy breath rising as cumulus clouds that seem far more substantive than the tiny landforms below.
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