[ belch ]
/ bɛltʃ /
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verb (used without object)
to eject gas spasmodically and noisily from the stomach through the mouth; eruct.
to emit contents violently, as a gun, geyser, or volcano.
to issue spasmodically; gush forth: Fire and smoke belched from the dragon's mouth.
verb (used with object)
to eject (gas or the like) spasmodically or violently; give forth: a chimney belching smoke.
an instance of belching; eructation.
a violent emittance of flame, smoke, gas, etc.


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Origin of belch

before 1000; Middle English belchen,Old English bealcettan; cognate with Dutch balken, belken to bray; perhaps extended form akin to bell2, bellow


belcher, nounoutbelch, verb (used with object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does belch mean?

A belch is the often noisy instance of stomach gas being released through the mouth. It often happens after you eat or especially after you drink a bubbly drink like soda.

Belch can also be used as a verb meaning to release gas in such a way, as in I belched right in the middle of the meeting—it was so embarrassing. 

Belching is common and normal, but it’s often considered rude to belch in public, especially to do so loudly. It’s typically considered the polite thing to do to try to cover up a belch.

A synonym for both the noun and verb sense of belch is burp, which is more informal. The technical medical term for belching or a belch is eructation. The verb form of this is eruct.

Belch is also sometimes used in a figurative way in the context of a thing releasing gas or air or something else, especially in a messy way. A volcano can be said to belch out fumes (and such fumes can be said to be belching out of it).

Example: My grandfather loved to conclude his dinner by unleashing a loud belch to signal his satisfaction.

Where does belch come from?

The first records of the word belch come from before 1000. It comes from the Middle English belchen, which is related to the Dutch balken, meaning “to bray,” and the Middle Low German belken, “to shout.”

Belches are often considered impolite, especially in front of other people, but like a lot of other bodily functions, they’re also pretty funny. A person loudly belching in an inappropriate situation is a common gag in movies.

Belching is much less funny when it’s a sign of an underlying problem. Belching is normal, but excessive belching can be a sign of digestive or gastrointestinal issues.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to belch?

  • belcher (noun)

What are some synonyms for belch?

What are some words that often get used in discussing belch?

How is belch used in real life?

Belching is very common. Like other bodily functions, it is sometimes considered rude but it’s also considered funny.


Try using belch!

Is the word belch used correctly in the following sentence?

The smokestacks continuously belch out toxic fumes.

How to use belch in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for belch

/ (bɛltʃ) /

(usually intr) to expel wind from the stomach noisily through the mouth; eructate
to expel or be expelled forcefully from insidesmoke belching from factory chimneys
to say (curses, insults, etc) violently or bitterly
an act of belching; eructation

Word Origin for belch

Old English bialcan; related to Middle Low German belken to shout, Dutch balken to bray
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

Medical definitions for belch

[ bĕlch ]

To expel stomach gas noisily through the mouth; burp.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.