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

  • n. A thin, usually spherical or hemispherical film of liquid filled with air or gas: a soap bubble.
  • n. A globular body of air or gas formed within a liquid: air bubbles rising to the surface.
  • n. A pocket formed in a solid by air or gas that is trapped, as during cooling or hardening.
  • n. The act or process of forming bubbles.
  • n. A sound made by or as if by the forming and bursting of bubbles.
  • n. Something insubstantial, groundless, or ephemeral, especially:
  • n. A fantastic or impracticable idea or belief; an illusion: didn't want to burst the new volunteers' bubble.
  • n. A speculative scheme that comes to nothing: lost money in the real estate bubble.
  • n. Something light or effervescent: "Macon—though terribly distressed—had to fight down a bubble of laughter” ( Anne Tyler).
  • n. A usually transparent glass or plastic dome.
  • n. A protective, often isolating envelope or cover: "The Secret Service will talk of tightening protection, but no President wants to live in a bubble” ( Anthony Lewis).
  • intransitive v. To form or give off bubbles.
  • intransitive v. To move or flow with a gurgling sound: a brook bubbling along its course.
  • intransitive v. To rise to or as if to the surface; emerge: "Since then, the revolution has bubbled up again in many forms” ( Jonathan Schell).
  • intransitive v. To display irrepressible activity or emotion: bubbling over with excitement.
  • transitive v. To cause to form bubbles.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A spherically contained volume of air, especially one made from soapy liquid.
  • n. A small spherical cavity in a solid material.
  • n. Anything resembling a hollow sphere.
  • n. A period of intense speculation in a market, causing prices to rise quickly to irrational levels as the metaphorical bubble expands, and then fall even more quickly as the bubble bursts.
  • n. Someone who has been ‘bubbled’ or fooled; a dupe.
  • n. a feverish upwelling
  • n. a feverish surge of speculation in a financial market, usually followed by a market crash (eg the South Sea Bubble).
  • n. a Greek (also: bubble and squeak)
  • n. emotional or\and physical atmosphere in which the subject is immersed; circumstances, ambience
  • v. To produce bubbles, to rise up in bubbles (such in foods cooking).
  • v. To cheat, delude.
  • v. To cry, weep.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A thin film of liquid inflated with air or gas.
  • n. A small quantity of air or gas within a liquid body.
  • n. A globule of air, or globular vacuum, in a transparent solid.
  • n. A small, hollow, floating bead or globe, formerly used for testing the strength of spirits.
  • n. The globule of air in the spirit tube of a level.
  • n. Anything that wants firmness or solidity; that which is more specious than real; a false show; a cheat or fraud; a delusive scheme; an empty project; a dishonest speculation.
  • n. A person deceived by an empty project; a gull.
  • intransitive v. To rise in bubbles, as liquids when boiling or agitated; to contain bubbles.
  • intransitive v. To run with a gurgling noise, as if forming bubbles.
  • intransitive v. To sing with a gurgling or warbling sound.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To rise in bubbles, as liquors when boiling or agitated; send up bubbles.
  • To run with a gurgling noise; gurgle: as, “bubbling fountains,”
  • To utter a bubbling or gurgling cry.
  • To cause to bubble.
  • To cheat; deceive or impose on; hoodwink; bamboozle.
  • To shed tears in a sniveling, blubbering, childish way.
  • n. A small vesicle of water or other fluid inflated with air or other gas, and floating on the surface of the fluid.
  • n. A small globule of air or other gas in or rising through a liquid.
  • n. The vesicle of air in the glass spirit-tube of a mechanics' level.
  • n. One of the small hollow beads of glass formerly used for testing the strength of spirits by the rate at which they rise after being plunged in them. See bead, 7.
  • n. Anything that wants firmness, substance, or permanence; that which is more specious than real; a vain project; a false show; a delusion; a trifle.
  • n. An inflated speculation; a delusive commercial project, especially one which is put forward as insuring extraordinary profits; hence, a financial imposition or fraud; a cheating trick: as, the South Sea bubble. See below.
  • n. . A person deceived by an empty project; a dupe.
  • n. In New England, hash or minced meat.
  • n. Snot.

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

  • v. rise in bubbles or as if in bubbles
  • v. flow in an irregular current with a bubbling noise
  • v. form, produce, or emit bubbles
  • n. a speculative scheme that depends on unstable factors that the planner cannot control
  • v. cause to form bubbles
  • n. an impracticable and illusory idea
  • n. a dome-shaped covering made of transparent glass or plastic
  • n. a hollow globule of gas (e.g., air or carbon dioxide)
  • v. expel gas from the stomach


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

From Middle English bubelen, to bubble.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Partly imitative, also influenced by burble.


  • _Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble_, came from the basin as the boy thrust in his face.

    Glyn Severn's Schooldays

  • When Obama sells 10 tons to lower the national debt those stuck holding gold will know what the term bubble means.

    News -

  • But This Might Be Misguided After being buffeted by the dot-com, housing and credit bubbles -- not to mention the Chinese stock-market bubble -- there is a readiness by people on Wall Street and elsewhere to ascribe the term bubble to all sorts of things.

    High Oil Prices Spur Thoughts About Bubbles,

  • In a word bubble above “Ali,” the artist Ali printed in crude block letters with eccentric punctuation, “He, was not the champ, he was a tramp.”

    Sound and Fury

  • A word bubble appears with the Chinese character for the sigh (哎), virtually the same as Ai's surname (艾).

    NYT > Home Page

  • She also posted a photo of herself and her pit bull named Freedom with a word bubble describing the ad.

    ABC News: Top Stories

  • "After the housing bubble, people are a little too quick to assign the word bubble these days," says Colvin, whose two funds and separately managed accounts hold 2,300 acres of farmland in Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota valued at more than $10 million.

  • Try combining the word bubble sticker with the text tool for a comic effect.

    Wired Top Stories

  • The Spurs for the title bubble did not stay long inflated. - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • Of tequila, maraschino, Absinthe and Punt y Mes, the online menu features a scribble of a word bubble that speaks: "Come, sit down, let me cure you by getting you buzzed ...."

    The Full Feed from


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

  • "I gave him the money, and professed myself so well convinced of his sincerity, that he had no occasion to put it to such extraordinary proofs for the future. "I thought," said he, "to have asked five pieces more, but hearing you were bubbled of eighteen last night, I presumed you might be out of cash, and resolved to model my demand accordingly." I could not help admiring the cavalier behaviour of this spark, of whom I desired to know his reason for saying I was bubbled."

    - Smollett, Roderick Random, 1748

    June 4, 2014

  • about a bad seed of an inkeeper, who'd travelled through Spain "...doing sundry wrongs, soliciting sundry widows, undoing some damsels, and bubbling several young heirs"!

    -The life and exploits of Don Quixote de la Mancha

    June 18, 2009

  • I love that word. Apparently a derivative of burble

    February 5, 2009

  • Fabricio, my dear Fabricio, far from being point, quint, and quatorze with the ladies of Valladolid, you are to know, my friend, that I am their complete bubble.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 1 ch. 17

    September 12, 2008

  • "'Mother Rabia,' she said, 'my predecessor and teacher, often said she experienced people as being trapped inside bubbles. One or two tiny little holes were pricked in the bubbles. And only through these holes could the bubbles connect to one another, only through them could people communicated and experience reality. Those holes ensure that we always experience the same few basic situations. Each of us carries around our own reality. But we have very little contact with other people's reality.'"

    - 'The Quiet Girl', Peter Høeg.

    March 19, 2008

  • November 14, 2007