Definitions

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

  • noun A large wave or swell of water.
  • noun A great swell, surge, or undulating mass, as of smoke or sound.
  • intransitive verb To surge or roll in billows.
  • intransitive verb To swell out or bulge.
  • intransitive verb To cause to billow.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To swell; rise and roll in large waves or surges.
  • To raise in waves or billows.
  • noun A great wave or surge of the sea, occasioned usually by a violent wind: much used in figurative applications, and often, especially in the plural, as merely equivalent to wave: as, the billows of sorrow rolled over him.
  • noun Synonyms See wave.

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

  • noun A great wave or surge of the sea or other water, caused usually by violent wind.
  • noun A great wave or flood of anything.
  • intransitive verb To surge; to rise and roll in waves or surges; to undulate.

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

  • noun A large wave, swell, surge, or undulating mass of something, such as water, smoke, fabric or sound
  • verb To surge or roll in billows
  • verb To swell out or bulge

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

  • noun a large sea wave
  • verb become inflated
  • verb move with great difficulty
  • verb rise and move, as in waves or billows
  • verb rise up as if in waves

Etymologies

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

[From Old Norse bylgja, a wave; see bhelgh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old Norse bylgja, from Proto-Germanic *bulgijōn. Cognates include Danish bølge, Middle High German bulga and Low German bulge.

Examples

  • If ever it comes into my life again (a friend or family with breast cancer) a billow is the ideal gift.

    A Gift? For Me? You Shouldn't Have!

  • Made from 100% old-vine Roussanne, it's rich and weighty but not ponderous — and its exotic aromas of flowers, fruits and spice simply billow from the glass.

    Ch

  • All the glories of Byzantium seemed to billow from the folds of her long silk stole, which, when she was presenting the Poetry prize to John Haynes, fell from her shoulders like a stream of molten gold.

    The Costa low-down, what you really need to know

  • All the glories of Byzantium seemed to billow from the folds of her long silk stole, which, when she was presenting the Poetry prize to John Haynes, fell from her shoulders like a stream of molten gold.

    52 entries from February 2007

  • All the glories of Byzantium seemed to billow from the folds of her long silk stole, which, when she was presenting the Poetry prize to John Haynes, fell from her shoulders like a stream of molten gold.

    The Costa low-down, what you really need to know

  • Minutes after white smoke began to billow from the Sistine Chapel, bells began to toll.

    USATODAY.com - German conservative named pope; tells Vatican faithful, 'We go forward'

  • Choking: Smoke continues to billow from the Icelandic volcano today as it was revealed British airspace will reopen tomorrow

    Home | Mail Online

  • Choking: Smoke continues to billow from the Icelandic volcano today as it was revealed British airspace will reopen tomorrow

    Home | Mail Online

  • Choking: Smoke continues to billow from the Icelandic volcano today as it was revealed British airspace will reopen tomorrow

    legitgov

  • Choking: Smoke continues to billow from the Icelandic volcano today as it was revealed British airspace will reopen tomorrow

    legitgov

Comments

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  • "She unzips her coverall all the way down below her navel. Underneath is naught but billowing pale flesh." (p. 53, Snow Crash)

    December 27, 2010