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  1. a rounded projection, bend, or protruding part; protuberance; hump: a bulge in a wall.
  2. any sudden increase, as of numbers, sales, or prices: the bulge in profits.
  3. a rising in small waves on the surface of a body of water, caused by the action of a fish or fishes in pursuit of food underwater.
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verb (used without object), bulged, bulg·ing.
  1. to swell or bend outward; be protuberant.
  2. to be filled to capacity: The box bulged with cookies.
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verb (used with object), bulged, bulg·ing.
  1. to make protuberant; cause to swell.
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Origin of bulge

1200–50; Middle English: bag, hump < Old French < Latin bulga bag < Celtic; compare Irish bolg bag
Related formsbulg·ing·ly, adverbout·bulge, verb, out·bulged, out·bulg·ing.


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4. protrude, project, stick out.

Pronunciation note

See bulk1.


  1. Battle of the, the final major German counteroffensive in World War II, begun December 16, 1944, and thrusting deep into Allied territory in N and E Belgium: repulsed January 1945.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for bulge


  1. a swelling or an outward curve
  2. a sudden increase in number or volume, esp of population
  3. British another name for baby boom
  4. British the projecting part of an army's front line; salient
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  1. to swell outwards
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Derived Formsbulging, adjectivebulgingly, adverbbulgy, adjectivebulginess, noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old French bouge, from Latin bulga bag, probably of Gaulish origin


  1. Battle of the Bulge (in World War II) the final major German counteroffensive in 1944 when the Allied forces were pushed back into NE Belgium; the Germans were repulsed by Jan 1945
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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 bulge


c.1200, "wallet, leather bag," from Old French bouge, boulge "wallet, pouch, leather bag," or directly from Latin bulga "leather sack" (see budget (n.)). Sense of "a swelling" is first recorded 1620s. Bilge (q.v.) might be a nautical variant.

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"to protrude, swell out," 1670s, from bulge (n.). Related: Bulged; bulging.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper