• IPA: /ˈbʌb.əl/

bubble (plural bubbles)

  1. A spherically contained volume of air or other gas, especially one made from soapy liquid.
  2. A small spherical cavity in a solid material.
    bubbles in window glass, or in a lens
  3. Anything resembling a hollow sphere.
  4. (economics) 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 (e.g. the South Sea Bubble).
  5. An officer's station in a prison dormitory, affording views on all sides.
    • 1998, District of Columbia Appropriations for 1998: Hearings
      Later that day, the unit was staffed with only one officer, who was required to stay in the bubble.
  6. (obsolete) Someone who has been ‘bubbled’ or fooled; a dupe.
    • Granny's a cheat, and I'm a bubble.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, Folio Society 1979, p. 15:
      For no woman, sure, will plead the passion of love for an excuse. This would be to own herself the mere tool and bubble of the man.
  7. (figurative) The emotional and/or physical atmosphere in which the subject is immersed.
    Synonyms: circumstances, ambience
  8. (Cockney rhyming slang) a Greek (also: bubble and squeak)
  9. A small, hollow, floating bead or globe, formerly used for testing the strength of spirits.
  10. The globule of air in the spirit tube of a level.
  11. Anything lacking firmness or solidity; a cheat or fraud; an empty project.
    • c. 1598–1600, William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene vii]:
      Then a soldier […] / Seeking the bubble reputation / Even in the cannon's mouth
  12. (Cockney rhyming slang) A laugh (also: bubble bath).
    Are you having a bubble?!
  13. (computing) Any of the small magnetized areas that make up bubble memory.
  14. (poker) The point in a poker tournament when the last player without a prize loses all their chips and leaves the game, leaving only players that are going to win prizes. (e.g., if the last remaining 9 players win prizes, then the point when the 10th player leaves the tournament)
    Many players tend to play timidly (not play many hands) around the bubble, to keep their chips and last longer in the game.
  15. A group of people who are in quarantine together.
Synonyms Antonyms
  • (a spherically contained volume of gas enclosed by a thin film of liquid, or within a volume of liquid) antibubble a spherically contained volume liquid enclosed by a thin film of gas, or within a volume of gas
Translations Translations Translations
  • German: Blase
  • Portuguese: bolha
  • Russian: пузы́рь
Translations Translations Translations Verb

bubble (bubbles, present participle bubbling; past and past participle bubbled)

  1. (intransitive) To produce bubbles, to rise up in bubbles (such as in foods cooking or liquids boiling).
  2. (intransitive, figurative) To churn or foment, as if wishing to rise to the surface.
    Rage bubbled inside him.
  3. (intransitive, figurative) To rise through a medium or system, similar to the way that bubbles rise in liquid.
  4. (transitive, archaic) To cheat, delude.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, Folio Society 1973, p. 443:
      No, no, friend, I shall never be bubbled out of my religion in hopes only of keeping my place under another government […]
  5. (intransitive, Scotland and Northern England) To cry, weep.
  6. (transitive) To pat a baby on the back so as to cause it to belch.
    • 1942, McCall’s, volume 69, page 94:
      Groggily her mind went back through the long hours to 10 P.M. She had fed Junior, bubbled him, diped him—according to plan.
  7. (transitive) To cause to feel as if bubbling or churning.
    • 1922, Conal O’Riordan, In London: The Story of Adam and Marriage, page 164:
      It seemed to Adam that he felt the blood in his toes creeping up his legs and body until it reached his brain where, finding it could go no farther, it bubbled him into dumbness: it added to his confusion to know that he looked as if some such accident had befallen his circulation.
    • 2011, Tim O’Brien, Northern Lights, page 201:
      The frothing sensation bubbled him all over, a boiling without heat or any sound or light.
  8. (transitive) To express in a bubbly or lively manner.
  9. (transitive) To form into a protruding round shape.
    • 1929, The Saturday Evening Post, volume 201, page 50:
      She bubbled her lips at Junior and wrinkled her eyes.
  10. (transitive) To cover with bubbles.
  11. (transitive) To bubble in; to mark a response on a form by filling in a circular area (‘bubble’).
    • 2019, Crash Course for the ACT, 6th Edition: Your Last-Minute Guide to Scoring High, page 15:
      You don’t want to go back and forth between the test booklet and your answer sheet to bubble your answers.

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