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[boo l-yuh n] /ˈbʊl yən/
gold or silver considered in mass rather than in value.
gold or silver in the form of bars or ingots.
Also called bullion fringe. a thick trimming of cord covered with gold or silver thread, for decorating uniforms.
embroidery or lace worked with gold wire or gold or silver cords.
Origin of bullion
1300-50; Middle English: melted mass of gold or silver < Anglo-Latin bulliōn- (stem of bulliō) in same sense (< Anglo-French bullion mint), literally, a boiling, equivalent to bull(īre) to bubble, boil1 + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
bullionless, adjective
Can be confused
bouillon, bullion. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bullion
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To hide the bullion until they could dispose of it they threw it in the lake.

    The Boy Scout Treasure Hunters Charles Henry Lerrigo
  • Many a galleon has been looted of ingots and bullion by the 146 old seadogs there.

    The Pirate of Panama William MacLeod Raine
  • But it was essential that they should use it soon, as it might be discovered, or the bullion might be removed.

  • I'll bring some bullion tomorrow morning and exchange it for your currency.

    The Galaxy Primes Edward Elmer Smith
  • The imports and exports of bullion (uncoined gold) are the real test of exchange.

  • Gold is mined, and there being no mint, all the bullion is exported.

    Commercial Geography

    Jacques W. Redway
  • Good broadcloth in their jackets, and bullion bands on their caps.

    The Boy Slaves Mayne Reid
  • A further reward of $1000 will be paid for the recovery of the bullion stolen.

    Brand Blotters William MacLeod Raine
British Dictionary definitions for bullion


gold or silver in mass
gold or silver in the form of bars and ingots, suitable for further processing
Also called bullion fringe. a thick gold or silver wire or fringed cord used as a trimming, as on military uniforms
Word Origin
C14 (in the sense: melted gold or silver): from Anglo-French: mint, probably from Old French bouillir to boil, from Latin bullīre
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 bullion

early 15c., "uncoined gold or silver," from Anglo-French bullion "bar of precious metal," also "place where coins are made, mint," perhaps, through the notion of "melting," from Old French boillir "to boil," from Latin bullire "boil" (see boil (v.)). But perhaps it is rather from Old French bille "stick, block of wood" (see billiards).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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