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[bohl-der] /ˈboʊl dər/


or bowlder

[bohl-der] /ˈboʊl dər/
a detached and rounded or worn rock, especially a large one.
Origin of boulder
dialectal Swedish
1610-20; short for boulder stone; Middle English bulderston < Scandinavian; compare dialectal Swedish bullersten big stone (in a stream), equivalent to buller rumbling noise (< Old Swedish bulder) + sten stone
Related forms
bouldered, adjective
bouldery, adjective
Can be confused
bolder, boulder. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bowlder
Historical Examples
  • It was like throwing pebbles at the bowlder in the Malad, the day before.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • "Give Mrs. bowlder my regards," said the journalist, comprehending the symbolism.

    The Gentleman From Indiana Booth Tarkington
  • At that I looked to the other side of the bowlder, and there was my friend of the monkey jacket.

  • "I won't waste any arrows on him," said the boy on the top of the bowlder.

    Two Arrows William O. Stoddard
  • Already the bowlder had been pushed 371 out at the top many inches.

    Out of the Depths

    Robert Ames Bennet
  • Severne rode to the bowlder in the dark gorge—I am sure it was the dark gorge—and turned.

    Blazed Trail Stories Stewart Edward White
  • Well, we got over the bowlder field—Fitz as spryly as any of us.

    Pluck on the Long Trail

    Edwin L. Sabin
  • With a single blow from another stone the bowlder was made to fall in two.


    William Graham Sumner
  • All that had passed since they came to the bowlder was strange, bewildering and terrifying to her.

  • Leopold sat down on a bowlder, some distance from the cliff, to wait for his companion.

    The Coming Wave Oliver Optic
British Dictionary definitions for bowlder


a smooth rounded mass of rock that has a diameter greater than 25cm and that has been shaped by erosion and transported by ice or water from its original position
(geology) a rock fragment with a diameter greater than 256 mm and thus bigger than a cobble
Derived Forms
bouldery, adjective
Word Origin
C13: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish dialect bullersten, from Old Swedish bulder rumbling + stenstone
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
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Word Origin and History for bowlder



1670s, variant of Middle English bulder (c.1300), from a Scandinavian source akin to Swedish dialectal bullersten "noisy stone" (large stone in a stream, causing water to roar around it), from bullra "to roar" + sten "stone." Or the first element might be from *buller- "round object," from Proto-Germanic *bul-, from PIE *bhel- (2) "to inflate, swell" (see bole).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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