I. noun Etymology: Old Norse bylgja; akin to Old High German balg bag — more at belly Date: 1552 1. wave; especially a great wave or surge of water 2. a rolling mass (as of flame or smoke) that resembles a high wave • billowy adjective II. verb Date: 1585 intransitive verb 1. to rise or roll in waves or surges 2. to bulge or swell out (as through action of the wind) transitive verb to cause to billow

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


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  • Billow — Bil low, n. [Cf. Icel. bylgja billow, Dan. b[ o]lge, Sw. b[ o]lja; akin to MHG. bulge billow, bag, and to E. bulge. See {Bulge}.] 1. A great wave or surge of the sea or other water, caused usually by violent wind. [1913 Webster] Whom the winds… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • billow — [bil′ō] n. [ON bylgja: see BELLY] 1. a large wave; great swell of water 2. any large swelling mass or surge, as of smoke, sound, etc. vi. to surge, swell, or rise like or in a billow vt. to make billow or surge SYN. WAVE …   English World dictionary

  • billow — [n] surging mass beachcomber, breaker, crest, roller, surge, swell, tide, wave; concepts 437,514 billow [v] surge balloon, belly, bloat, bounce, bulge, ebb and flow, heave, pitch, puff up, ripple, rise and fall, rise up, rock, roll, swell, toss,… …   New thesaurus

  • Billow — Bil low, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Billowed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Billowing}.] To surge; to rise and roll in waves or surges; to undulate. The billowing snow. Prior. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • billow — ► NOUN 1) a large undulating mass of cloud, smoke, or steam. 2) archaic a large sea wave. ► VERB 1) (of fabric) fill with air and swell outwards. 2) (of smoke, cloud, or steam) move or flow outward with an undulating motion. DERIVATIVES billowy …   English terms dictionary

  • billow — {{11}}billow (n.) 1550s, perhaps older in dialectal use, from O.N. bylgja a wave, a billow, from P.Gmc. *bulgjan (Cf. M.H.G. bulge billow, bag ), from PIE *bhelgh to swell (see BELLY (Cf. belly) (n.)). {{12}}billow (v.) 1590s, from BILLOW (Cf.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • billow — I UK [ˈbɪləʊ] / US [ˈbɪloʊ] verb [intransitive] Word forms billow : present tense I/you/we/they billow he/she/it billows present participle billowing past tense billowed past participle billowed 1) to be filled with air and swell out like a sail… …   English dictionary

  • billow — bil|low1 [ˈbıləu US lou] v 1.) [i]also billow out if something made of cloth billows, it moves in the wind ▪ Her long skirt billowed in the breeze. 2.) if a cloud or smoke billows, it rises in a round mass billow out of/up etc ▪ There was smoke… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • billow — bil|low1 [ bılou ] verb intransitive 1. ) to be filled with air and swell out like a sail: The sheets billowed on the clothes line. billow out: His cloak billowed out behind him. 2. ) if smoke or steam billows, it rises or moves in clouds: Smoke… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • billow — 1. noun /ˈbɪləʊ,ˈbɪloʊ/ A large wave, swell, surge, or undulating mass of water, smoke or sound And the brooklet has found the billow Though they flowed so far apart …   Wiktionary

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