[ bel-ee ]
See synonyms for: bellybelliedbellying on

noun,plural bel·lies.
  1. the front or under part of a vertebrate body from the breastbone to the pelvis, containing the abdominal viscera; the abdomen.

  2. the stomach with its adjuncts.

  1. appetite or capacity for food; gluttony.

  2. the womb.

  3. the inside or interior of anything: the belly of a ship.

  4. a protuberant or bulging surface of anything: the belly of a flask.

  5. Anatomy. the fleshy part of a muscle.

  6. the front, inner, or under surface or part, as distinguished from the back.

  7. the front surface of a violin or similar instrument.

  8. a bulge on a vertical surface of fresh concrete.

  9. the underpart of the fuselage of an airplane.

verb (used with object),bel·lied, bel·ly·ing.
  1. to fill out; swell: Wind bellied the sails.

verb (used without object),bel·lied, bel·ly·ing.
  1. to swell out: Sails bellying in the wind.

  2. to crawl on one's belly: soldiers bellying through a rice paddy.

Verb Phrases
  1. belly up, Informal.

    • to approach closely, especially until one is in physical contact: to belly up to a bar.

    • to curry favor from: Would you have gotten the promotion if you hadn't bellied up to the boss?

Idioms about belly

  1. go / turn belly up, Informal. to come to an end; die; fail: After years of barely surviving on donations, the neighborhood social club finally went belly up.

Origin of belly

before 950; Middle English bely,Old English belig, belg bag, skin; cognate with German Balg,Gothic balgs,Old Norse belgr sack; akin to Welsh bol(a), boly,Irish bolg sack, belly, bellows, Serbo-Croatian blàzina,Latvian pabàlsts,Avestan barəziš-,Persian bālish cushion

Other words from belly

  • bel·ly·like, adjective

Words Nearby belly Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use belly in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for belly


/ (ˈbɛlɪ) /

nounplural -lies
  1. the lower or front part of the body of a vertebrate, containing the intestines and other abdominal organs; abdomen: Related adjective: ventral

  2. the stomach, esp when regarded as the seat of gluttony

  1. a part, line, or structure that bulges deeply: the belly of a sail

  2. the inside or interior cavity of something: the belly of a ship

  3. the front or inner part or underside of something

  4. the surface of a stringed musical instrument over which the strings are stretched

  5. the thick central part of certain muscles

  6. Australian and NZ the wool from a sheep's belly

  7. tanning the portion of a hide or skin on the underpart of an animal

  8. archery the surface of the bow next to the bowstring

  9. archaic the womb

  10. go belly up informal to die, fail, or come to an end

verb-lies, -lying or -lied
  1. to swell out or cause to swell out; bulge

Origin of belly

Old English belig; related to Old High German balg, Old Irish bolg sack, Sanskrit barhi chaff

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with belly


see go belly up.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.