1. A protruding part; an outward curve or swelling.
2. Nautical A bilge.
3. A sudden, usually temporary increase in number or quantity: The baby boom created a bulge in school enrollment.
v. bulged, bulg·ing, bulg·es
To swell, protrude, or curve outward: a wall bulging after a flood; muscles bulging under a shirt.
To cause to bulge.
[Middle English, pouch, from Old French bulge, bouge, from Latin bulga, bag, of Celtic origin; see bhelgh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: bulge, balloon, belly, jut, project, protrude
These verbs mean to curve, spread, or extend outward past the normal or usual limit: a wallet bulging with money; a clown's pants that ballooned at the waist; a sail bellying in the wind; a boulder jutting from the hillside; a deck that projected from the house in back; eyes protruding from their sockets in astonishment.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus