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bubble Line breaks: bub¦ble
Pronunciation: /ˈbʌb(ə)l/

Definition of bubble in English:


1A thin sphere of liquid enclosing air or another gas: we’d shake up a piece of soap in a tin of warm water and blow bubbles
More 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: the white foamy part of a broken wave is largely made up of air bubbles
More 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.
globule, bead, blister, drop;
(bubbles) sparkle, fizz, effervescence, mousse, froth, head, lather, suds
informal glob
technical barm
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
  • He lived in a bubble, a microcosmic world, traveling by train through war-torn Germany with the windows shaded.
  • Scroggins quotes many of Emma's friends, who describe her naivety, her refusal to take life seriously, the fact that "she lived in a bubble".
  • He lives in a bubble of his own making, surrounded by a small number of friends and family.
illusion, delusion, fantasy, dream, pipe dream, daydream, chimera, vanity, castle in the air;
transient phenomenon, short-lived phenomenon
informal pie in the sky
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
  • What we had in the 1990s was a classic bubble.
  • Our shrewdest move was not overreacting to the bubble or to the bust.
  • There has even been talk that housing could experience a crash reminiscent of the tech bubble.
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 mollusc 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


[no object] Back to top  
1(Of a liquid) form rising bubbles of gas or air: a pot of coffee 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.
1.1Make a bubbling sound: close by, a stream bubbled along through reeds and rushes (as adjective bubbling) 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/over with) Be filled with an irrepressible positive feeling: Ellen was bubbling with 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.
overflow, brim over, be filled, run over, gush
1.3 (bubble up) (Of a feeling) become more intense and approach the point of being 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.


burst someone's bubble
Shatter someone’s illusions about something or destroy their 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
North American informal (Of a sports player or team) occupying the last qualifying position on a team or for a tournament, and liable to be replaced by another: he’s never lived up to his high selection, and is on the bubble for a roster spot figurative several of last year’s new TV shows are on the bubble
[From sit on the bubble, with the implication that the bubble may burst]
More 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.


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

Words that rhyme with bubble

double, Hubble, nubble, rubble, stubble, trouble
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