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blubber

[bluhb-er]
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noun
  1. Zoology. the fat layer between the skin and muscle of whales and other cetaceans, from which oil is made.
  2. excess body fat.
  3. an act of weeping noisily and without restraint.
verb (used without object)
  1. to weep noisily and without restraint: Stop blubbering and tell me what's wrong.
verb (used with object)
  1. to say, especially incoherently, while weeping: The child seemed to be blubbering something about a lost ring.
  2. to contort or disfigure (the features) with weeping.
adjective
  1. disfigured with blubbering; blubbery: She dried her blubber eyes.
  2. fatty; swollen; puffed out (usually used in combination): thick, blubber lips; blubber-faced.

Origin of blubber

1250–1300; Middle English bluber bubble, bubbling water, entrails, whale oil; apparently imitative
Related formsblub·ber·er, nounblub·ber·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for blubber

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • To grapple with this rigour one should have fed all one's life on blubber.

    The Frozen Pirate

    W. Clark Russell

  • Them chaps, whoever they are, have been killing seals and boiling the blubber.

    The Beach of Dreams

    H. De Vere Stacpoole

  • The skins were needed for boots, the flesh for dog food, and the blubber for oil.

    Left on the Labrador

    Dillon Wallace

  • So he winked, too, at his mother, and tried to blubber a "thank you."

  • Then he begins to blubber, and leak brine, and take on like a woman with a sick headache.

    Torchy

    Sewell Ford


British Dictionary definitions for blubber

blubber

verb
  1. to sob without restraint
  2. to utter while sobbing
  3. (tr) to make (the face) wet and swollen or disfigured by crying
noun
  1. a thick insulating layer of fatty tissue below the skin of aquatic mammals such as the whale: used by man as a source of oil
  2. informal excessive and flabby body fat
  3. the act or an instance of weeping without restraint
  4. Australian an informal name for jellyfish
adjective
  1. (often in combination) swollen or fleshyblubber-faced; blubber-lips
Derived Formsblubberer, noun

Word Origin

C12: perhaps from Low German blubbern to bubble, of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for blubber

n.

late 14c., blober "a bubble, bubbling water; foaming waves," probably echoic of bubbling water. Original notion of "bubbling, foaming" survives in the figurative verbal meaning "to weep, cry" (c.1400). Meaning "whale fat" first attested 1660s; earlier it was used in reference to jellyfish (c.1600) and of whale oil (mid-15c.). As an adjective from 1660s.

v.

late 14c., "to seethe, bubble," from blubber (n.). Meaning "to cry, to overflow with weeping" is from c.1400. Related: Blubbered; blubbering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

blubber in Science

blubber

[blŭbər]
  1. The thick layer of fat between the skin and the muscle layers of whales and other marine mammals. It insulates the animal from heat loss and serves as a food reserve.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.