[ buhb-uhl ]
See synonyms for: bubblebubbledbubblesbubbling on Thesaurus.com

  1. a nearly spherical body of gas contained in a liquid.

  2. a small globule of gas in a thin liquid envelope.

  1. a globule of air or gas, or a globular vacuum, contained in a solid.

  2. anything that lacks firmness, substance, or permanence; an illusion or delusion.

  3. the act or sound of bubbling.

  4. a spherical or nearly spherical canopy or shelter; dome: The bombing plane bristled with machine-gun bubbles.A network of radar bubbles stretches across northern Canada.

  5. a domelike structure, usually of inflated plastic, used to enclose a swimming pool, tennis court, etc.

  6. a protected, exempt, or unique area, industry, etc.: The oasis is a bubble of green in the middle of the desert.

  7. an area that can be defended, protected, patrolled, etc., or that comes under one's jurisdiction: The carrier fleet's bubble includes the Hawaiian Islands.

  8. a zone of cognitive or psychological isolation, in which one’s preexisting ideas are reinforced through interactions with like-minded people or those with similar social identities: You can’t live in your own partisan political bubble 364 days of the year and then expect to happily reconnect with your family at Thanksgiving.

    • a group or circle of people who interact or socialize with one another because of familial ties, shared interests, etc.: I do try to expand my social bubble and look for opportunities to make new friends.

    • Also called pod . a small group of people who interact or socialize exclusively with one another in order to contain the spread of a contagious disease: I’m only getting together with my quarantine bubble of five family members.

  9. Economics.

    • Also called spec·u·la·tive bub·ble [spek-yuh-luh-tiv buhb-uhl], /ˈspɛk yəˌlə tɪv ˈbʌb əl/, as·set price bub·ble [as-et prahys-buhb-uhl] /ˈæs ɛt ˈpraɪs ˈbʌb əl/ . an inflated speculation that causes an unsustainable increase in the value of goods, property, or other investment: The real-estate bubble ruined many investors when it burst.

    • a sudden, temporary change or divergence from a trend: In May there was a bubble in car sales, with three percent more being sold than last year.

verb (used without object),bub·bled, bub·bling.
  1. to form, produce, or release bubbles; effervesce.

  2. to flow or spout with a gurgling noise; gurgle.

  1. to boil: The water bubbled in the pot.

  2. to speak, move, issue forth, or exist in a lively, sparkling manner; exude cheer: The play bubbled with songs and dances.

  3. to seethe or stir, as with excitement: His mind bubbles with plans and schemes.

verb (used with object),bub·bled, bub·bling.
  1. to cause to bubble; make bubbles in.

  2. Archaic. to cheat; deceive; swindle.

Verb Phrases
  1. bubble over, to become lively: The last time I saw her she was bubbling over with enthusiasm.

Idioms about bubble

  1. burst someone’s bubble, to diminish someone’s enthusiasm or optimism, especially with a reminder of sobering facts or realistic expectations.

Origin of bubble

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English noun bobel; cognate with Middle Dutch bobbel, bubbel, Middle Low German bubbele, Swedish bubbla

Other words from bubble

  • bub·ble·less, adjective
  • bub·ble·like, adjective
  • bub·bling·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with bubble

Words Nearby bubble

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use bubble in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bubble


/ (ˈbʌbəl) /

  1. a thin film of liquid forming a hollow globule around air or a gas: a soap bubble

  2. a small globule of air or a gas in a liquid or a solid, as in carbonated drinks, glass, etc

  1. the sound made by a bubbling liquid

  2. something lacking substance, stability, or seriousness

  3. an unreliable scheme or enterprise

  4. a dome, esp a transparent glass or plastic one

  1. to form or cause to form bubbles

  2. (intr) to move or flow with a gurgling sound

  1. (intr; often foll by over) to overflow (with excitement, anger, etc)

  2. (intr) Scot to snivel; blubber

Origin of bubble

C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish bubbla, Danish boble, Dutch bobbel, all of imitative origin

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

Cultural definitions for bubble


A period of wild speculation in which the price of a commodity or stock or an entire market is inflated far beyond its real value. Bubbles are said to “burst” when a general awareness of the folly emerges and the price drops.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.