n. pl. bel·lies
1. See abdomen.
2. The underside of the body of certain vertebrate animals, such as a snake.
3. A cut of meat from the underside of an animal, especially a pig.
a. The stomach.
b. An appetite for food.
5. The womb; the uterus.
a. A part that bulges or protrudes: the belly of a sail.
b. Anatomy The bulging, central part of a muscle.
7. A deep or central interior space: the engine in the belly of a ship; fish down in the belly of a river.
intr. & tr.v. bel·lied, bel·ly·ing, bel·liesPhrasal Verb:
To bulge or cause to bulge. See Synonyms at bulge.
To approach closely: belly up to the bar.
[Middle English beli, from Old English belg, bag; see bhelgh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.