- magnitude in three dimensions: a ship of great bulk.
- the greater part; main mass or body: The bulk of the debt was paid.
- goods or cargo not in packages or boxes, usually transported in large volume, as grain, coal, or petroleum.
- fiber(def 9).
- (of paper, cardboard, yarn, etc.) thickness, especially in relation to weight.
- the body of a living creature.
- bulk mail.
- being or traded in bulk: bulk grain.
- to increase in size; expand; swell.
- to be of or give the appearance of great weight, size, or importance: The problem bulks large in his mind.
- (of paper, cardboard, yarn, etc.) to be of or to acquire a specific thickness, especially in relation to weight.
- to gather, form, or mix into a cohesive or uniform mass.
- to cause to swell, grow, or increase in weight or thickness.
- to gather, bring together, or mix.
- bulk up, to increase the bulk of, especially by increasing the thickness of: Adding four chapters will bulk up the book.
- in bulk,
- unpackaged: Fresh orange juice is shipped from Florida in bulk.
- in large quantities: Those who buy in bulk receive a discount.
Origin of bulk1
- volume, size, or magnitude, esp when great
- the main partthe bulk of the work is repetitious
- a large body, esp of a personhe eased his bulk out of the chair
- the part of food which passes unabsorbed through the digestive systemhe eased his bulk out of the chair
- unpackaged cargo or goods
- a ship's cargo or hold
- the thickness of a number of sheets of paper or cardboard
- the thickness of a book excluding its covers
- (plural) copies of newspapers sold in bulk at a discounted price to hotels, airlines, etc which issue them free to their customers
- in bulk
- in large quantities
- (of a cargo, etc) unpackaged
- to cohere or cause to cohere in a mass
- to place, hold, or transport (several cargoes of goods) in bulk
- bulk large to be or seem important or prominentthe problem bulked large in his mind
Word Origin and History for in bulk
mid-15c., "a heap," earlier "ship's cargo" (mid-14c.), from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse bulki "a heap; ship's cargo," thus "goods loaded loose" (perhaps literally "rolled-up load"), from Proto-Germanic *bul-, from PIE root *bhel- (2) "to blow, inflate, swell" (see bole).
Meaning extended by confusion with obsolete bouk "belly" (from Old English buc "body, belly," from Proto-Germanic *bukaz; see bucket), which led to sense of "size," first attested mid-15c.
"swell, become more massive," 1550s (usually with up), from bulk (n.). Related: Bulked; bulking.
Idioms and Phrases with in bulk
Unpackaged, loose, as in It's cheaper to buy rice in bulk. [Late 1600s]
In large amounts or volume, as in The ship was carrying wheat in bulk. [Mid-1700s]
see in bulk.