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[bilj] /bɪldʒ/
  1. either of the rounded areas that form the transition between the bottom and the sides on the exterior of a hull.
  2. Also, bilges. (in a hull with a double bottom) an enclosed area between frames at each side of the floors, where seepage collects.
  3. Also called bilge well. a well into which seepage drains to be pumped away.
  4. Also called bilge water. seepage accumulated in bilges.
Slang. bilge water (def 2).
the widest circumference or belly of a cask.
verb (used without object), bilged, bilging.
  1. to leak in the bilge.
  2. (of white paint) to turn yellow.
to bulge or swell out.
verb (used with object), bilged, bilging.
Nautical. to damage (a hull bottom) so as to create an entry for seawater.
Origin of bilge
1505-15; perhaps variant of bulge Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bilge
  • No patent should be issued for the use of large glorified bilge pumps and how they are used.
  • Its flotation was entirely dependent on whether the bilge pump could keep up with the leakage.
  • In addition, avoid the use of bilge cleaners that are detergents or emulsifiers.
  • Trailer your boat to an area that provides containment before removing bilge or boat plugs.
  • The kits include an absorbent pad, a bilge pillow and a fuel collar.
  • Check the bilge area for oily residue, and clean thoroughly.
  • Insert a bilge pillow in the area to absorb oils from future leaks.
  • Prevent bilge contamination by keeping oil-absorbent pads in bilge.
  • Use absorbent bilge pads to soak up oil and fuel and properly recycle or dispose of them.
  • Keep the bilge clean and dry and your boat engine well tuned to prevent fuel and oil leaks.
British Dictionary definitions for bilge


(nautical) the parts of a vessel's hull where the vertical sides curve inwards to form the bottom
(often pl) the parts of a vessel between the lowermost floorboards and the bottom
Also called bilge water. the dirty water that collects in a vessel's bilge
(informal) silly rubbish; nonsense
the widest part of the belly of a barrel or cask
(intransitive) (nautical) (of a vessel) to take in water at the bilge
(transitive) (nautical) to damage (a vessel) in the bilge, causing it to leak
Derived Forms
bilgy, adjective
Word Origin
C16: probably a variant of bulge
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 bilge

1510s, "lowest internal part of a ship," also used of the foulness which collects there; variant of bulge "ship's hull," also "leather bag," from Old North French boulge "leather sack," from Late Latin bulga "leather sack," apparently from Gaulish bulga (see budget (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bilge



Nonsense; worthless and vain matter; tripe, blah (1900s+)


(also bilge out) To fail or expel a student (1900+ College students)

[short for bilge-water]

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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