- a great wave or surge of the sea.
- any surging mass: billows of smoke.
- to rise or roll in or like billows; surge.
- to swell out, puff up, etc., as by the action of wind: flags billowing in the breeze.
- to make rise, surge, swell, or the like: A sudden wind billowed the tent alarmingly.
Origin of billow
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for billowed
Have you been compulsively checking to see if white smoke has billowed from the Sistine Chapel yet?Your Guide to Pope-Picking: Conclave Songs, Livefeeds, Betting & More
March 12, 2013
With one hand she indicated the prairie that billowed away to the skyline.A Breath of Prairie and other stories
She says it is because it is “billowed in another greater and gentler sort.”The Love Affairs of an Old Maid
It speaks of wood or stream, of billowed sky, and now of sombre shadow.Spirit and Music
H. Ernest Hunt
The floor beneath them rocked and billowed like the waves of a canvas sea.The Double Four
E. Phillips Oppenheim
Uncle William beamed on the water that billowed before and behind.Uncle William
- a large sea wave
- a swelling or surging mass, as of smoke or sound
- a large atmospheric wave, usually in the lee of a hill
- (plural) poetic the sea itself
- to rise up, swell out, or cause to rise up or swell out
Word Origin and History for billowed
1550s, perhaps older in dialectal use, from Old Norse bylgja "a wave, a billow," from Proto-Germanic *bulgjan (cf. Middle High German bulge "billow, bag"), from PIE *bhelgh- "to swell" (see belly (n.)).
1590s, from billow (n.). Related: Billowed; billowing.