[ bahyl ]
/ baɪl /
Save This Word!

Physiology. a bitter, alkaline, yellow or greenish liquid, secreted by the liver, that aids in absorption and digestion, especially of fats.
ill temper; peevishness.
Old Physiology. either of two humors associated with anger and gloominess.
There's an ocean of difference between the way people speak English in the US vs. the UK. Are your language skills up to the task of telling the difference? Let's find out!
Question 1 of 7
True or false? British English and American English are only different when it comes to slang words.

Origin of bile

1655–65; <French <Latin bīlis
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use bile in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bile (1 of 2)

/ (baɪl) /

a bitter greenish to golden brown alkaline fluid secreted by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. It is discharged during digestion into the duodenum, where it aids the emulsification and absorption of fats
irritability or peevishness
archaic either of two bodily humours, one of which (black bile) was thought to cause melancholy and the other (yellow bile) anger

Word Origin for bile

C17: from French, from Latin bīlis, probably of Celtic origin; compare Welsh bustl bile

British Dictionary definitions for bile (2 of 2)

/ (bəɪl) /

a Scot word for boil 1
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

Scientific definitions for bile

[ bīl ]

A bitter, alkaline, brownish-yellow or greenish-yellow fluid that is secreted by the liver, concentrated and stored in the gallbladder, and discharged into the duodenum of the small intestine. It helps in the digestion of fats and the neutralization of acids, such as the hydrochloric acid secreted by the stomach. Bile consists of salts, acids, cholesterol, lipids, pigments, and water.Bile salts help in the emulsification, digestion, and absorption of fats.Bile pigments are waste products formed by the breakdown of hemoglobin from old red blood cells.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for bile


A bitter fluid produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Bile is discharged into the small intestine when needed to aid in the digestion of fats (see digestive system).

notes for bile

Bile is sometimes used figuratively to denote bitterness in general: “His writing was full of bile.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.