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 ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.