[ bilj ]
See synonyms for: bilgebilgedbilging on

  1. Nautical.

    • either of the rounded areas that form the transition between the bottom and the sides on the exterior of a hull.

    • Also bilges. (in a hull with a double bottom) an enclosed area between frames at each side of the floors, where seepage collects.

    • Also called bilge well. a well into which seepage drains to be pumped away.

    • Also called bilge water. seepage accumulated in bilges.

  1. the widest circumference or belly of a cask.

verb (used without object),bilged, bilg·ing.
  1. Nautical.

    • to leak in the bilge.

    • (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

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

How to use bilge in a sentence

  • Along about sunrise Mr. Pellett stirred in the bilge and raised a peagreen face.

  • Her passenger spent the night praying in the bilge; and as for her commander, he left no report.

British Dictionary definitions for bilge


/ (bɪldʒ) /

  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

  1. Also called: bilge water the dirty water that collects in a vessel's bilge

  2. informal silly rubbish; nonsense

  3. 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

Origin of bilge

C16: probably a variant of bulge

Derived forms of bilge

  • bilgy, adjective

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