Definitions

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

  • noun A thin, usually spherical or hemispherical film of liquid filled with air or gas.
  • noun A globular body of air or gas formed within a liquid.
  • noun A pocket formed in a solid by air or gas that is trapped, as during cooling or hardening.
  • noun The sound made by the forming and bursting of bubbles.
  • noun Something insubstantial, groundless, or ephemeral, especially a fantastic or impracticable idea or belief.
  • noun Something light or effervescent.
  • noun A usually transparent glass or plastic dome.
  • noun A protective, often isolating envelope or cover.
  • noun A usually oval outline, as on a ballot or a standardized test form, intended to be filled in using a pencil or pen.
  • noun A rounded or irregularly shaped outline containing the words that a character in a cartoon is represented to be saying.
  • noun Economics An increase in the price of a commodity, investment, or market that is not warranted by economic fundamentals and is usually caused by ongoing investment or speculation in the expectation that the price will increase further.
  • intransitive verb To form or give off bubbles.
  • intransitive verb To move or flow with a gurgling sound.
  • intransitive verb To rise to the surface.
  • intransitive verb To become active or intense enough to come into prominence.
  • intransitive verb To display irrepressible activity or emotion.
  • adjective Capable of being categorized in one class or another; borderline.
  • idiom (on the bubble) On the brink of a new development or condition, especially in danger of being cut from a sports team.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Snot.
  • 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.
  • noun A small vesicle of water or other fluid inflated with air or other gas, and floating on the surface of the fluid.
  • noun A small globule of air or other gas in or rising through a liquid.
  • noun The vesicle of air in the glass spirit-tube of a mechanics' level.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Anything that wants firmness, substance, or permanence; that which is more specious than real; a vain project; a false show; a delusion; a trifle.
  • noun 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.
  • noun . A person deceived by an empty project; a dupe.
  • noun In New England, hash or minced meat.
  • To shed tears in a sniveling, blubbering, childish way.

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

  • noun A thin film of liquid inflated with air or gas.
  • noun A small quantity of air or gas within a liquid body.
  • noun A globule of air, or globular vacuum, in a transparent solid.
  • noun A small, hollow, floating bead or globe, formerly used for testing the strength of spirits.
  • noun The globule of air in the spirit tube of a level.
  • noun 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.
  • noun obsolete A person deceived by an empty project; a gull.
  • intransitive verb To rise in bubbles, as liquids when boiling or agitated; to contain bubbles.
  • intransitive verb To run with a gurgling noise, as if forming bubbles.
  • intransitive verb To sing with a gurgling or warbling sound.

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

  • noun A spherically contained volume of air, especially one made from soapy liquid.
  • noun A small spherical cavity in a solid material.
  • noun Anything resembling a hollow sphere.

Etymologies

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.

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Examples

  • _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 - chicagotribune.com

  • 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

  • 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.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

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

    NYT > Home Page

  • 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 HuffingtonPost.com

  • 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.

Comments

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  • "'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

  • 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

  • I love that word. Apparently a derivative of burble

    February 5, 2009

  • 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 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