a great wave or surge of the sea.
any surging mass: billows of smoke.
verb (used without object)
to rise or roll in or like billows; surge.
to swell out, puff up, etc., as by the action of wind: flags billowing in the breeze.
verb (used with object)
to make rise, surge, swell, or the like: A sudden wind billowed the tent alarmingly.

1545–55; < Old Norse bylgja wave, cognate with Middle Low German bulge; akin to Old English gebylgan to anger, provoke

underbillow, verb (used without object)

1. swell, breaker, crest, roller, whitecap. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
billow (ˈbɪləʊ)
1.  a large sea wave
2.  a swelling or surging mass, as of smoke or sound
3.  a large atmospheric wave, usually in the lee of a hill
4.  poetic (plural) the sea itself
5.  to rise up, swell out, or cause to rise up or swell out
[C16: from Old Norse bylgja; related to Swedish bōlja, Danish bölg, Middle High German bulge; see bellow, belly]
adj, —n

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

1550s, perhaps older in dialectal use, from O.N. bylgja "a wave," from P.Gmc. *bulgjan (cf. M.H.G. bulge "billow, bag"), from PIE *bhelgh- "to swell" (see belly). Related: Billowing; billowy.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Curtains, for example, still billow in cold showers.
What is more, only benign gaz are emitted in the atmosphere, and can billow
  away without damaging the ozone layer.
Flag, supported by wires, appears to billow in the airless lunar environment.
Cackle as huge clouds of cold-sublimating gas billow forth.
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