billow Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a large sea wave
  2. verb rise up as if in waves
    • smoke billowed up into the sky
  3. verb move with great difficulty
    • The soldiers billowed across the muddy riverbed
  4. verb rise and move, as in waves or billows
    surge; heave.
    • The army surged forward
  5. verb become inflated
    balloon; inflate.
    • The sails ballooned


Bil"low noun
Cf. Icel. bylgja billow, Dan. bölge, Sw. bölja; akin to MHG. bulge billow, bag, and to E. bulge. See Bulge.
  1. A great wave or surge of the sea or other water, caused usually by violent wind.
    Whom the winds waft where'er the billows roll. Cowper.
  2. A great wave or flood of anything. Milton.
Bil"low intransitive verb
imperfect & past participle Billowed present participle & verbal noun Billowing
  1. To surge; to rise and roll in waves or surges; to undulate. "The billowing snow." Prior.

Webster 1913