View synonyms for bulk



[ buhlk ]


  1. magnitude in three dimensions, especially great size or extent: a defensive tackle better known for his bulk than for his speed and agility.

    a ship of massive bulk;

    a defensive tackle better known for his bulk than for his speed and agility.

  2. a body or mass, especially a large one: The granite bulk can be seen for 100 miles in many directions.

    The humpback whale was pushing its bulk through the water.

    The granite bulk can be seen for 100 miles in many directions.

  3. the greater part; main mass or body:

    The bulk of the debt was paid.

  4. Transportation. bulk cargo.
  5. (of paper, cardboard, yarn, etc.) thickness, especially in relation to weight.


  1. being or traded in bulk:

    bulk grain.

verb (used without object)

  1. to increase in size; expand; swell.
  2. to be of or give the appearance of great weight, size, or importance:

    The problem bulks large in his mind.

  3. (of paper, cardboard, yarn, etc.) to be of or to acquire a specific thickness, especially in relation to weight.
  4. to gather, form, or mix into a cohesive or uniform mass.

verb (used with object)

  1. to cause to swell, grow, or increase in weight or thickness.
  2. to gather, bring together, or mix.

verb phrase

  1. to increase the bulk of, especially by increasing the thickness of:

    Adding four chapters will bulk up the book.



[ buhlk ]


, Architecture.
  1. a structure, as a stall, projecting from the front of a building.


/ bʌlk /


  1. volume, size, or magnitude, esp when great
  2. the main part

    the bulk of the work is repetitious

  3. a large body, esp of a person

    he eased his bulk out of the chair

  4. the part of food which passes unabsorbed through the digestive system

    he eased his bulk out of the chair

  5. unpackaged cargo or goods
  6. a ship's cargo or hold
  7. printing
    1. the thickness of a number of sheets of paper or cardboard
    2. the thickness of a book excluding its covers
  8. plural copies of newspapers sold in bulk at a discounted price to hotels, airlines, etc which issue them free to their customers
  9. in bulk
    1. in large quantities
    2. (of a cargo, etc) unpackaged


  1. to cohere or cause to cohere in a mass
  2. to place, hold, or transport (several cargoes of goods) in bulk
  3. bulk large
    to be or seem important or prominent

    the problem bulked large in his mind

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The use of a plural noun after bulk was formerly considered incorrect, but is now acceptable

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Pronunciation Note

Bulk and bulge most often are pronounced with the vowel [uh] of buck. In South Midland and Southern U.S. the [oo] of book and bull commonly occurs among all speakers. Standard British speech has only [uh]. Both types exist in British regional speech, and both were brought to the colonies, where each came to predominate in a different area and was carried west by migration.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of bulk1

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English bolke, bulke “heap, cargo, hold,” from Old Norse bulki “cargo, ship's hold”

Origin of bulk2

First recorded in 1580–90; of uncertain origin; perhaps from Old Norse bálkr “partition, balk”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of bulk1

C15: from Old Norse bulki cargo

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. in bulk,
    1. unpackaged:

      Fresh orange juice is shipped from Florida in bulk.

    2. in large quantities:

      Those who buy in bulk receive a discount.

More idioms and phrases containing bulk

see in bulk .

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Synonym Study

See size 1.

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Example Sentences

The bulk of his comments have focused on ending protesters’ violence rather than addressing the cause behind the demonstrations, with invocations of the upcoming presidential election.

From Vox

Yu suggested that as offices reopen, people will want to avoid crowded cafeterias, and they’ll choose KitchenMate’s bulk deliveries over having lots of individual deliveries going in and out of buildings and elevators.

A group she co-founded, Cocktails for Hope, is now helping restaurants buy glass bottles in bulk for carryout.

From Fortune

Lately their business has survived primarily on web-based sales and bulk purchases.

From Fortune

The new features are designed to help advertisers optimize campaign performance and make bulk campaign management easier.

More to the point, Huckabee has a natural appeal to a party that has come to represent the bulk of working class white voters.

The bulk of the premiere actually put an unexpected spin on the ripped-from-the-headlines story.

There is none of the jutting out of decks and balconies, and feeling of exterior bulk that is so familiar to mega-yachts.

For too long, luxury boats have size and bulk on their side, but in design terms they rarely surprise or look as stunning as STAR.

Schools are more than happy to help players bulk up but nothing is done to help them slim down after the cleats get hung up.

Results are in terms of bulk of precipitate, which must not be confused with percentage by weight.

He fought with the Boers against us and has taken his immense bulk into one campaign after another.

A vast mountain of green water lifted up its bulk and fell upon us in a ravening cataract.

The Specific Gravity is the relative weight of a body compared to an equal bulk of some other body taken as a standard.

And, at the same time, he began to bulk rather large in his own eyes with a certain spurious importance.


Related Words

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.




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