View synonyms for boil



[ boil ]

verb (used without object)

  1. to change from a liquid to a gaseous state, producing bubbles of gas that rise to the surface of the liquid, agitating it as they rise:

    Water boils at 100°C.

  2. to reach or be brought to the boiling point:

    When the water boils, add the meat and cabbage.

  3. to be in an agitated or violent state:

    The sea boiled in the storm.

    Synonyms: froth, churn, foam

  4. to be deeply stirred or upset:

    I didn’t dare open my mouth, as I was boiling with rage.

    Synonyms: rage

  5. to contain, or be contained in, a liquid that boils:

    The kettle is boiling.

    The vegetables are boiling.

verb (used with object)

  1. to cause to boil or to bring to the boiling point:

    Boil two cups of water.

  2. to cook (something) in boiling water:

    Don’t boil the eggs too long if you want soft yolks.

  3. to separate (sugar, salt, etc.) from a solution containing it by boiling off the liquid:

    A basic candy can be made by simply boiling sugar in a pan.


  1. the act, state, or condition of boiling:

    He brought a kettle of water to a boil.

  2. a social event at which food is cooked in boiling water:

    We celebrated harvest and the end of summer with a corn boil in the backyard.

    A jam-packed frosh week kicks off with a crawfish boil and outdoor concert.

  3. an area of agitated, swirling, bubbling water, such as part of a rapids:

    My flashlight beam shone on the boil of the river as it beat against the bridge’s foundations.

  4. Also called blow. Civil Engineering. an unwanted flow of water and solid matter into an excavation, due to excessive outside water pressure.

verb phrase

    1. to overflow while boiling or as if while boiling; burst forth; erupt:

      Your soup boiled over and made a mess on the stove.

    2. to be unable to suppress anger, excitement, etc.:

      Any mention of the incident makes her boil over.

    1. to clear deposits of calcium, minerals, etc., from (a vehicle’s radiator) by immersing it in boiling water for a time.
    2. to eliminate by or as if by boiling:

      Unlike the germs in your drinking water, lead can't be boiled out.

      The events in the stories have had most of their specialness boiled out by decades of repetition.

    1. to reduce the quantity of by boiling off liquid:

      Boil the sauce down till it just covers the cutlets.

    2. to shorten; abridge:

      I think you could boil this lengthy essay down to a couple of pages.

    3. to be simplifiable or summarizable as; lead to the conclusion that; point:

      It all boils down to a basic lack of respect for their employees.

  1. Also boil out.
    1. to remove or be removed by evaporation, as through boiling:

      The alcohol in this rum cake boils off in baking.

      Maple syrup is made by boiling off the excess water from the sap.

    2. to degum (silk).
    3. to remove (sizing, wax, impurities, or the like) from a fabric by subjecting it to a hot scouring solution.



[ boil ]


, Pathology.
  1. a painful, circumscribed inflammation of the skin or a hair follicle, having a dead, suppurating inner core: usually caused by a staphylococcal infection.



/ bɔɪl /


  1. a red painful swelling with a hard pus-filled core caused by bacterial infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissues, esp at a hair follicle Technical namefuruncle



/ bɔɪl /


  1. to change or cause to change from a liquid to a vapour so rapidly that bubbles of vapour are formed copiously in the liquid Compare evaporate
  2. to reach or cause to reach boiling point
  3. to cook or be cooked by the process of boiling
  4. intr to bubble and be agitated like something boiling; seethe

    the ocean was boiling

  5. intr to be extremely angry or indignant (esp in the phrase make one's blood boil )

    she was boiling at his dishonesty

  6. intr to contain a boiling liquid

    the pot is boiling


  1. the state or action of boiling (esp in the phrases on the boil, off the boil )


/ boil /

  1. To change from a liquid to a gaseous state by being heated to the boiling point and being provided with sufficient energy. Boiling is an example of a phase transition.

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Derived Forms

  • ˈboilable, adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of boil1

First recorded in 1200–50; Middle English boillen, boil(e), buile(n), from Old French boillir, buil(l)ir, from Latin bullīre “to bubble, effervesce, boil,” verb derivative of noun bulla “bubble”

Origin of boil2

First recorded before 1000; Middle English bil(e), bul(e), bel(e), Old English bȳle; cognate with German Beule “boil, hump,” akin to Old Norse beyla “hump, swelling”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of boil1

Old English bӯle ; related to Old Norse beyla swelling, Old High German būlla bladder, Gothic ufbauljan to inflate

Origin of boil2

C13: from Old French boillir , from Latin bullīre to bubble, from bulla a bubble

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Idioms and Phrases

  • make one's blood boil
  • watched pot never boils

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Synonym Study

Boil, seethe, simmer, stew are used figuratively to refer to agitated states of emotion. To boil suggests the state of being very hot with anger or rage: Rage made his blood boil. To seethe is to be deeply stirred, violently agitated, or greatly excited: A mind seething with conflicting ideas. To simmer means to be on the point of bursting out or boiling over: to simmer with curiosity, with anger. To stew is to worry, to be in a restless state of anxiety and excitement: to stew about ( or over ) one's troubles.

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Example Sentences

Fill the pot with warm water so the jars are covered by an inch or two, and bring it to a boil.

Fill your pot with water until it’s nearly half full, and bring it to a boil.

Residents of Lake Jackson, where the boy contracted the amoeba after playing at a local water park, are under a boil water advisory.

The release says the process should take about two weeks, during which the boil water advisory will remain in place.

They are simply a boil on the rectum of humanity and should be treated as such.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season liberally with salt.

In conversation, her ideas emerge at a roiling boil that often takes on a momentum of its own.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the string beans.

A curse-filled half hour that saw my blood boil as my filing deadline ticked further into the past.

Businesses are suffering more each day in an area where the rents are extortionate, and the situation could boil over soon.

Still he hung on, drawing himself upward to hook a leg over the very pipe that threatened to boil him alive.

When the Cave-men first learned to boil water, do you think they would think of boiling food?

Boil the oil and soap together in a pipkin, and then gradually stir in the sand and lemon-juice.

Like a boil, such a horse race as this must burst some day, and it was reaching the acute stage.

Let it boil in the suds for an hour or more, till the lace is clean and white all through.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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