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[bou-uh l, boul] /ˈbaʊ əl, baʊl/
  1. Usually, bowels. the intestine.
  2. a part of the intestine.
  1. the inward or interior parts:
    the bowels of the earth.
  2. Archaic. feelings of pity or compassion.
verb (used with object), boweled, boweling or (especially British) bowelled, bowelling.
to disembowel.
1250-1300; Middle English b(o)uel < Old French < Latin botellus little sausage (bot(ulus) sausage + -ellus -elle)
Related forms
bowelless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bowels
  • Mostly, it is taken from somewhere in the bowels of the textbook, sometimes from lectures.
  • The scale of equipment in the bowels of such boats is impressive.
  • The bacteria primarily cling to the intestinal walls in the bowels of the bowels-the colon.
  • His bowels were so out of whack that he had to have an enema every third day.
  • He is eventually taken in by a gang of eccentric bums who live in the bowels of an enormous junk heap.
  • There is, however, a set that is shared across all bowels.
  • It's a network of shady arms trading, and in your inflamed bowels, it happens at an unprecedented level.
  • But the infected fluid had pressed on her bowels, causing tissues to stick together and obstruct fecal movement.
  • And this was an incredible technological achievement over predicting anything out of spilling an animal's bowels.
  • Other risks of the surgery include damage to the bladder and bowels.
British Dictionary definitions for bowels


an intestine, esp the large intestine in man
(pl) innards; entrails
(pl) the deep or innermost part (esp in the phrase the bowels of the earth)
(pl) (archaic) the emotions, esp of pity or sympathy
Word Origin
C13: from Old French bouel, from Latin botellus a little sausage, from botulus sausage
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bowels



c.1300, from Old French boele "intestines, bowels, innards" (12c., Modern French boyau), from Medieval Latin botellus "small intestine," originally "sausage," diminutive of botulus "sausage," a word borrowed from Oscan-Umbrian, from PIE *gwet-/*geut- "intestine" (cf. Latin guttur "throat," Old English cwið, Gothic qiþus "belly, womb," German kutteln "guts, chitterlings").

Greek splankhnon (from the same PIE root as spleen) was a word for the principal internal organs, which also were felt in ancient times to be the seat of various emotions. Greek poets, from Aeschylus down, regarded the bowels as the seat of the more violent passions such as anger and love, but by the Hebrews they were seen as the seat of tender affections, especially kindness, benevolence, and compassion. Splankhnon was used in Septuagint to translate a Hebrew word, and from thence early Bibles in English rendered it in its literal sense as bowels, which thus acquired in English a secondary meaning of "pity, compassion" (late 14c.). But in later editions the word often was translated as heart. Bowel movement is attested by 1874.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bowels in Medicine

bowel bow·el (bou'əl, boul)
The intestine.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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bowels in Science
The intestine.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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bowels in the Bible

(Phil. 1:8; 2:1; Col. 3:12), compassionate feelings; R.V., "tender mercies."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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