See more synonyms for bilge on
  1. Nautical.
    1. either of the rounded areas that form the transition between the bottom and the sides on the exterior of a hull.
    2. Also bilges.(in a hull with a double bottom) an enclosed area between frames at each side of the floors, where seepage collects.
    3. Also called bilge well.a well into which seepage drains to be pumped away.
    4. Also called bilge water.seepage accumulated in bilges.
  2. Slang. bilge water(def 2).
  3. the widest circumference or belly of a cask.
verb (used without object), bilged, bilg·ing.
  1. Nautical.
    1. to leak in the bilge.
    2. (of white paint) to turn yellow.
  2. to bulge or swell out.
verb (used with object), bilged, bilg·ing.
  1. Nautical. to damage (a hull bottom) so as to create an entry for seawater.

Origin of bilge

First recorded in 1505–15; perhaps variant of bulge Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for bilge

malarky, balderdash, trash, rot, bull

Examples from the Web for bilge

Historical Examples of bilge

  • Not that I was one who craved for wrack and bilge at my nose all the time.

    John Splendid

    Neil Munro

  • Mayo trod carefully down the bilge and clasped the mate's hand.

  • Well, he's dead now, he is—as dead as bilge; and who's to sail this ship, I don't see.

    Treasure Island

    Robert Louis Stevenson

  • “There are worse smells than bilge water,” replied the captain.

    Peter Simple

    Frederick Marryat

  • The arrangement for baling out the bilge water is extremely laborious.

    Southern Arabia

    Theodore Bent

British Dictionary definitions for bilge


  1. nautical the parts of a vessel's hull where the vertical sides curve inwards to form the bottom
  2. (often plural) the parts of a vessel between the lowermost floorboards and the bottom
  3. Also called: bilge water the dirty water that collects in a vessel's bilge
  4. informal silly rubbish; nonsense
  5. the widest part of the belly of a barrel or cask
  1. (intr) nautical (of a vessel) to take in water at the bilge
  2. (tr) nautical to damage (a vessel) in the bilge, causing it to leak
Derived Formsbilgy, adjective

Word Origin for bilge

C16: probably a variant of bulge
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

Word Origin and History for bilge

1510s, "lowest internal part of a ship," also used of the foulness which collects there; variant of bulge "ship's hull," also "leather bag," from Old North French boulge "leather sack," from Late Latin bulga "leather sack," apparently from Gaulish bulga (see budget (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper