from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A large wooden ball weighted or slightly flattened so as to roll with a bias.
  • noun A roll or throw of this ball, as in bowling.
  • noun A revolving cylinder or drum in a machine.
  • intransitive verb To participate in a game of bowling.
  • intransitive verb To throw or roll a ball in bowling.
  • intransitive verb To hurl a cricket ball from one end of the pitch toward the batsman at the other, keeping the arm straight throughout the delivery.
  • intransitive verb To move quickly and smoothly, especially by rolling.
  • intransitive verb To throw or roll (a ball).
  • intransitive verb To achieve (a specified score) by bowling.
  • intransitive verb To perform (a specified amount, as a string or game) in bowling.
  • intransitive verb To move quickly and smoothly by or as if by rolling.
  • intransitive verb To meet or strike with or as if with the force of a rapidly rolling object.
  • noun A hemispherical vessel, wider than it is deep, used for holding food or fluids.
  • noun The contents of such a vessel.
  • noun A drinking goblet.
  • noun A bowl-shaped part, as of a spoon or pipe.
  • noun A bowl-shaped topographic depression.
  • noun A bowl-shaped stadium or outdoor theater.
  • noun Football Any of various postseason games played between specially selected teams, especially at the college level.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The main cylinder or drum of a calico-printing machine, against which are pressed the engraved copper rollers; a calender-roller.
  • noun An antifriction roller in the pedal-motion of the feeding-device of a cotton-scutcher or picking-machine.
  • To play with bowls or at bowling: as, “challenge her to bowl,” Shak., L. L. L., iv.
  • To roll a bowl, as in the game of bowls.
  • To deliver the ball to be played by the batsman at cricket.
  • To move horizontally, with a rapid and easy motion, like a ball: as, the carriage bowled along.
  • To roll or trundle, as a bowl.
  • To pelt with or as with bowls.
  • noun A low-standing concave vessel used for various domestic and other purposes, chiefly for holding liquids or liquid food.
  • noun More specifically
  • noun A large drinking-cup; a goblet: in this sense now chiefly figurative, as an emblem of festivity or dissipation.
  • noun Anything having the general shape or use of a bowl, as a natural depression in the ground, the pound or central portion of a fishing-weir, the hollow or containing part of a vessel or utensil having a stem or a handle, etc.: as, the bowl of a chalice, a spoon, or a tobacco-pipe.
  • noun A ball; any sphere or globe.
  • noun A large solid ball of hard wood used in playing the game of bowls on a level plat of greensward called a bowling-green, or
  • noun the game of skittles or ninepins on a long, floored surface of wood called a bowling-alley. (See bowls.)
  • noun A turn at a game of bowls: as, it is his bowl next.
  • noun 4 (pron. böl). A marble used by boys in play; in the plural, the game itself.
  • noun In a knitting-machine, the roller or antifriction wheel on which the carriage traverses.
  • noun One of the buoys or floats used by herring-fishers about Yarmouth, England, to support, the drift-net and keep its edge uppermost. These bowls are colored to mark the divisions of the fleet of nets.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A concave vessel of various forms (often approximately hemispherical), to hold liquids, etc.
  • noun Specifically, a drinking vessel for wine or other spirituous liquors; hence, convivial drinking.
  • noun The contents of a full bowl; what a bowl will hold.
  • noun The hollow part of a thing.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English boule, from Old French, from Latin bulla, round object.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English bowle, from Old English bolla; see bhel- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English bowle, boule, from Old French boule ("ball"), from Latin bulla ("bubble, stud, round object"), from Proto-Indo-European *bōul- (“bubble, round object”). Cognate with Middle Low German poll ("head, top, summit"). More at poll.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English bolle, from Old English bolla, bolle ("bowl, cup, pot, beaker, measure"), from Proto-Germanic *bullô, *bullōn (“ball, round vessel, bowl”), from Proto-Indo-European *bhl-, from Proto-Indo-European *bhel- (“to blow, inflate, swell, bubble”). Cognate with North Frisian bol ("bun, bread roll"), Middle Low German bolle, bole ("round object"), Dutch bol ("ball, sphere, scoop, dot"), German Bolle ("bulb"), Danish bolle ("bowl, bread roll"), Icelandic bolli ("cup").


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