or bowl·der



a detached and rounded or worn rock, especially a large one.

Origin of boulder

1610–20; short for boulder stone; Middle English bulderston < Scandinavian; compare dialectal Swedish bullersten big stone (in a stream), equivalent to buller rumbling noise (< Old Swedish bulder) + sten stone
Related formsboul·dered, adjectiveboul·der·y, adjective
Can be confusedbolder boulderboulder cobblestone granule pebble rock stone Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bowlder

Historical Examples of bowlder

  • It was like throwing pebbles at the bowlder in the Malad, the day before.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • "Give Mrs. Bowlder my regards," said the journalist, comprehending the symbolism.

  • At that I looked to the other side of the bowlder, and there was my friend of the monkey jacket.

  • "I won't waste any arrows on him," said the boy on the top of the bowlder.

    Two Arrows

    William O. Stoddard

  • Already the bowlder had been pushed 371 out at the top many inches.

    Out of the Depths

    Robert Ames Bennet

British Dictionary definitions for bowlder



a smooth rounded mass of rock that has a diameter greater than 25cm and that has been shaped by erosion and transported by ice or water from its original position
geology a rock fragment with a diameter greater than 256 mm and thus bigger than a cobble
Derived Formsbouldery, adjective

Word Origin for boulder

C13: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish dialect bullersten, from Old Swedish bulder rumbling + sten stone
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 bowlder



1670s, variant of Middle English bulder (c.1300), from a Scandinavian source akin to Swedish dialectal bullersten "noisy stone" (large stone in a stream, causing water to roar around it), from bullra "to roar" + sten "stone." Or the first element might be from *buller- "round object," from Proto-Germanic *bul-, from PIE *bhel- (2) "to inflate, swell" (see bole).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper