Winchester bushel

Origin of Winchester bushel

1695–1705; after Winchester, England


[boo sh-uh l]
  1. a unit of dry measure containing 4 pecks, equivalent in the U.S. (and formerly in England) to 2150.42 cubic inches or 35.24 liters (Winchester bushel), and in Great Britain to 2219.36 cubic inches or 36.38 liters (Imperial bushel). Abbreviation: bu., bush.
  2. a container of this capacity.
  3. a unit of weight equal to the weight of a bushel of a given commodity.
  4. a large, unspecified amount or number: a bushel of kisses.

Origin of bushel

1250–1300; Middle English bu(i)sshel < Middle French boissel, equivalent to boisse unit of measure (< Gaulish *bostia; compare MIr bas, bos palm of the hand, handbreadth) + -el noun suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for winchester bushel


  1. a Brit unit of dry or liquid measure equal to 8 Imperial gallons. 1 Imperial bushel is equivalent to 0.036 37 cubic metres
  2. a US unit of dry measure equal to 64 US pints. 1 US bushel is equivalent to 0.035 24 cubic metres
  3. a container with a capacity equal to either of these quantities
  4. US informal a large amount; great deal
  5. hide one's light under a bushel to conceal one's abilities or good qualities

Word Origin for bushel

C14: from Old French boissel, from boisse one sixth of a bushel, of Gaulish origin


verb -els, -elling, -elled, -els, -eling or -eled
  1. (tr) US to alter or mend (a garment)
Derived Formsbusheller, busheler or bushelman, noun

Word Origin for bushel

C19: probably from German bosseln to do inferior work, patch, from Middle High German bōzeln to beat, from Old High German bōzan
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 winchester bushel



early 14c., measure of capacity containing four pecks or eight gallons, from Old French boissel "bushel" (13c., Modern French boisseau), probably from boisse, a grain measure based on Gallo-Romance *bostia "handful," from Gaulish *bosta "palm of the hand" (cf. Irish bass, Breton boz "the hollow of the hand"). The exact measure varied from place to place and according to commodity, and since late 14c. it has been used loosely to mean "a large quantity or number."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with winchester bushel


see hide one's light under a bushel.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.