[ bil-oh ]
/ ˈbɪl oʊ /
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See synonyms for: billow / billowed / billowing on Thesaurus.com


a great wave or surge of the sea.
any surging mass: billows of smoke.

verb (used without object)

to rise or roll in or like billows; surge.
to swell out, puff up, etc., as by the action of wind: flags billowing in the breeze.

verb (used with object)

to make rise, surge, swell, or the like: A sudden wind billowed the tent alarmingly.



In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.

Origin of billow

1545–55; <Old Norse bylgja wave, cognate with Middle Low German bulge; akin to Old English gebylgan to anger, provoke
un·der·bil·low, verb (used without object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for billow

/ (ˈbɪləʊ) /


a large sea wave
a swelling or surging mass, as of smoke or sound
a large atmospheric wave, usually in the lee of a hill
(plural) poetic the sea itself


to rise up, swell out, or cause to rise up or swell out
billowing, adjective, noun
C16: from Old Norse bylgja; related to Swedish bōlja, Danish bölg, Middle High German bulge; see bellow, belly
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
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