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

  • noun plural An apparatus for producing a strong current of air, as for sounding a pipe organ or increasing the draft to a fire, consisting of a flexible, valved air chamber that is contracted and expanded by pumping to force the air through a nozzle.
  • noun plural Something, such as the pleated windbag of an accordion, that resembles this apparatus.
  • noun plural The lungs.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In photography, that part of a camera which connects the front and back portions and is capable of being extended or closed as desired.
  • In organ-building, the extensive apparatus by which air is supplied and compressed for the sounding of the pipes.
  • An instrument or machine for producing a current of air: principally used for blowing fire, either in private dwellings or in forges, furnaces, mines, etc.; also used in organs for producing the current of air by which the pipes and reeds are sounded.

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

  • noun An instrument, utensil, or machine, which, by alternate expansion and contraction, or by rise and fall of the top, draws in air through a valve and expels it through a tube for various purposes, as blowing fires, ventilating mines, or filling the pipes of an organ with wind.
  • noun in photography, a form of camera, which can be drawn out like an accordion or bellows.
  • noun See Hydrostatic.
  • noun the ordinary household instrument for blowing fires, consisting of two nearly heart-shaped boards with handles, connected by leather, and having a valve and tube.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Plural form of bellow.
  • verb Third-person singular simple present indicative form of bellow.
  • noun A device for delivering pressurized air in a controlled quantity to a controlled location. At its most simple terms a bellows is a container which is deformable in such a way as to alter its volume which has an outlet or outlets where one wishes to blow air.
  • noun Any flexible container or enclosure, as one used to cover a moving joint.
  • noun The lungs.
  • noun photography Flexible, light-tight enclosures connecting the lensboard and the camera back.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a mechanical device that blows a strong current of air; used to make a fire burn more fiercely or to sound a musical instrument


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

[Middle English belowes, from Old English belgas, pl. of belg; see bhelgh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

See bellow

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English belwes, plural of belu, belw, a northern form of beli, from Old English belg


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word bellows.


  • _ 'says I.' For a bellows, 'says she; 'a _bellows_, to blow the fire with.

    Nobody Susan Warner 1852

  • A loud abrasive buzzing bellows from the nightstand and I raise my head, only to be blinded by the red light emanating from the small - in size, not volume - machine against a backdrop of pure blackness.

    Rebecca Taylor: Spiral Jetty: A Monument to Paradox & Transience Rebecca Taylor 2010

  • The bellows is a heavy-duty unit: It can handle up to 5,000 pounds of leveling capacity per pair.

    F&S Guide to Truck Suspension and Lifts 2009

  • Some bellows from the home crowd and a rather hollow beating of a drum somewhere as Fabio comes on for Evra.

    Bursaspor v Manchester United - as it happened Barney Ronay 2010

  • I want to show you, if you can take a shot of this model here, I'll try to point it out right here, there's a pipe, an external pipe, which goes down the whole bottom portion of the tank, and right at this portion right here, there's a thing they call bellows, and ice has built up there.

    CNN Transcript Apr 29, 2005 2005

  • Lesser things ran inside and outside, and tickled my skin until the light in my eyes fell to shutters and the back of my brain met it's front where darkness came, and darkness shivered, in the shallow pool of my unconsciousness where God looms and Hell calls in short bellows, slow cups, and weathered coughs.

    Burt Reynolds, the pig, and me. Calib Donigan 2012

  • The copper gilt grate is a marvel of workmanship, and the mantelpiece is most delicately finished; the fire-irons are beautifully chased; the bellows are a perfect gem.

    Letters of Two Brides 2007

  • It may be dusted on from the hand in a broadcast way, or applied with a powder-bellows, which is a better and less wasteful method.

    Manual of Gardening (Second Edition) 1906

  • This feeling of singing against the chest with the weight of air pressing up against it is known as "breath support," and in Italian we have even a better word, "apoggio," which is breath prop. The diaphragm in English may be called the bellows of the lungs, but the apoggio is the deep breath regulated by the diaphragm.

    Caruso and Tetrazzini on the Art of Singing Enrico Caruso 1897

  • Exactly; and this fact gives me the opportunity of making you understand the action of the lungs by explaining that of the bellows, which is in everybody's hands, but which three-fourths of the people use, without troubling themselves to inquire how it is made or acts.

    The History of a Mouthful of Bread And its effect on the organization of men and animals Jean Mac�� 1854


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Compare etymology for bulge.

    May 30, 2022