noun, plural bellies.
the front or under part of a vertebrate body from the breastbone to the pelvis, containing the abdominal viscera; the abdomen.
the stomach with its adjuncts.
appetite or capacity for food; gluttony.
the womb.
the inside or interior of anything: the belly of a ship.
a protuberant or bulging surface of anything: the belly of a flask.
Anatomy. the fleshy part of a muscle.
the front, inner, or under surface or part, as distinguished from the back.
the front surface of a violin or similar instrument.
a bulge on a vertical surface of fresh concrete.
the underpart of the fuselage of an airplane.
verb (used with object), bellied, bellying.
to fill out; swell: Wind bellied the sails.
verb (used without object), bellied, bellying.
to swell out: Sails bellying in the wind.
to crawl on one's belly: soldiers bellying through a rice paddy.
Verb phrases
belly up, Informal.
to approach closely, especially until one is in physical contact: to belly up to a bar.
to curry favor from: Would you have gotten the promotion if you hadn't bellied up to the boss?
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.

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

bellylike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
belly (ˈbɛlɪ)
n , pl -lies
1.  the lower or front part of the body of a vertebrate, containing the intestines and other abdominal organs; abdomenRelated: 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
vb , -lies, -lies, -lying, -lied
13.  to swell out or cause to swell out; bulge
Related: ventral
[Old English belig; related to Old High German balg, Old Irish bolg sack, Sanskrit barhi chaff]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. belg, bylg (W.Saxon), bælg (Anglian) "leather bag, purse, bellows," from P.Gmc. *balgiz "bag" (cf. O.N. belgr "bag, bellows," bylgja "billow," Goth. balgs "wineskin"), from PIE *bholgh-, from base *bhelgh- "to swell," an extension of *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell" (see
bole). Meaning shifted to "body" (late 13c.), then to "abdomen" (mid-14c.). Meaning "bulging part or concave surface of anything" is 1590s. The W.Gmc. root had an extended sense of "anger, arrogance" (cf. O.E. bolgenmod "enraged;" belgan (v.) "to become angry"). IE languages commonly use the same word for both the external belly and the internal (stomach, womb, etc., e.g. Gk. gaster). Fastidious avoidance of belly in speech and writing (replaced by imported stomach and abdomen) began late 18c. and the word was banished from Bibles in many early 19c. editions.

"to swell out," 1620s, from belly (n.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

belly bel·ly (běl'ē)

  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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Bible Dictionary

Belly definition

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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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see go belly up.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
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.
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.
Idioms & Phrases
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