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belly

[bel-ee] /ˈbɛl i/
noun, plural bellies.
1.
the front or under part of a vertebrate body from the breastbone to the pelvis, containing the abdominal viscera; the abdomen.
2.
the stomach with its adjuncts.
3.
appetite or capacity for food; gluttony.
4.
the womb.
5.
the inside or interior of anything:
the belly of a ship.
6.
a protuberant or bulging surface of anything:
the belly of a flask.
7.
Anatomy. the fleshy part of a muscle.
8.
the front, inner, or under surface or part, as distinguished from the back.
9.
the front surface of a violin or similar instrument.
10.
a bulge on a vertical surface of fresh concrete.
11.
the underpart of the fuselage of an airplane.
verb (used with object), bellied, bellying.
12.
to fill out; swell:
Wind bellied the sails.
verb (used without object), bellied, bellying.
13.
to swell out:
Sails bellying in the wind.
14.
to crawl on one's belly:
soldiers bellying through a rice paddy.
Verb phrases
15.
belly up, Informal.
  1. to approach closely, especially until one is in physical contact:
    to belly up to a bar.
  2. to curry favor from:
    Would you have gotten the promotion if you hadn't bellied up to the boss?
Idioms
16.
go / turn belly up, Informal. to come to an end; die; fail:
After years of barely surviving on donations, the neighborhood social club finally went belly up.
Origin
950
before 950; Middle English bely, Old English belig, belg bag, skin; cognate with German Balg, Gothic balgs, Old Norse belgr sack; akin to Welsh bol(a), boly, Irish bolg sack, belly, bellows, Serbo-Croatian blàzina, Latvian pabàlsts, Avestan barəziš-, Persian bālish cushion
Related forms
bellylike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for belly
  • Pol will have to perform a procedure to suture that stomach to the wall of the cow's belly.
  • The two muscles may unite into a single belly with two tendons.
  • Tells how he raised money for a family research foundation via a belly-dancing benefit.
  • If you look closer, you can see that he also has a pair of scissors sticking in his thigh and another in his belly.
  • Serious scholarship has a way of filtering out the belly laughs.
  • Of course, one need not choose between pork belly and raw greens.
  • His large belly hangs over the waistband of his dark blue jogging pants.
  • His pulse was thready and fast, his belly distended, his bowel ominously silent.
  • They brought him in with multiple wounds to the belly.
  • Snakes sense movement with their belly nerves, crocodiles with sharper senses of ripples in the water and keen vision.
British Dictionary definitions for belly

belly

/ˈbɛlɪ/
noun (pl) -lies
1.
the lower or front part of the body of a vertebrate, containing the intestines and other abdominal organs; abdomen related adjective ventral
2.
the stomach, esp when regarded as the seat of gluttony
3.
a part, line, or structure that bulges deeply: the belly of a sail
4.
the inside or interior cavity of something: the belly of a ship
5.
the front or inner part or underside of something
6.
the surface of a stringed musical instrument over which the strings are stretched
7.
the thick central part of certain muscles
8.
(Austral & NZ) the wool from a sheep's belly
9.
(tanning) the portion of a hide or skin on the underpart of an animal
10.
(archery) the surface of the bow next to the bowstring
11.
(archaic) the womb
12.
(informal) go belly up, to die, fail, or come to an end
verb -lies, -lying, -lied
13.
to swell out or cause to swell out; bulge
Word Origin
Old English belig; related to Old High German balg, Old Irish bolg sack, Sanskrit barhi chaff
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 belly
n.

Old English belg, bylg (West Saxon), bælg (Anglian) "leather bag, purse, bellows," from Proto-Germanic *balgiz "bag" (cf. Old Norse belgr "bag, bellows," bylgja "billow," Gothic balgs "wineskin"), from PIE *bholgh-, from root *bhelgh- "to swell," an extension of *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell" (see bole). Meaning shifted to "body" (late 13c.), then focused to "abdomen" (mid-14c.). Meaning "bulging part or concave surface of anything" is 1590s. The West Germanic root had a figurative or extended sense of "anger, arrogance" (cf. Old English bolgenmod "enraged;" belgan (v.) "to become angry").

Indo-European languages commonly use the same word for both the external belly and the internal (stomach, womb, etc.), but the distinction of external and internal is somewhat present in English belly/stomach; Greek gastr- (see gastric) in classical language denoted the paunch or belly, while modern science uses it only in reference to the stomach as an organ. Fastidious avoidance of belly in speech and writing (compensated for by stretching the senses of imported stomach and abdomen, baby-talk tummy and misappropriated midriff) began late 18c. and the word was banished from Bibles in many early 19c. editions. Belly punch (n.) is attested from 1811.

v.

"to swell out," 1620s, from belly (n.). Related: Bellied; bellying. Old English belgan meant "to be or become angry" (a figurative sense). A comparable Greek verb-from-noun, gastrizein, meant "to hit (someone) in the belly."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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belly in Medicine

belly bel·ly (běl'ē)
n.

  1. See abdomen.

  2. The stomach.

  3. The womb; the uterus.

  4. The bulging, central part of a muscle. Also called venter.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for belly
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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belly in the Bible

the seat of the carnal affections (Titus 1:12; Phil. 3:19; Rom. 16:18). The word is used symbolically for the heart (Prov. 18:8; 20:27; 22:18, marg.). The "belly of hell" signifies the grave or underworld (Jonah 2:2).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with belly

belly

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for belly

a thin plate of wood or a stretched membrane lying directly under the strings of a stringed musical instrument. It vibrates in response to the vibrations of the strings (transmitted to it by the bridge, an elastic piece of wood held under pressure or tension between the strings and soundboard), amplifying the faint sound produced by the string alone.

Learn more about belly with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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