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[boi-ling] /ˈbɔɪ lɪŋ/
having reached the boiling point; steaming or bubbling up under the action of heat:
boiling water.
fiercely churning or swirling:
the boiling seas.
(of anger, rage, etc.) intense; fierce; heated.
to an extreme extent; very:
August is usually boiling hot; boiling mad.
1250-1300; Middle English. See boil1, -ing2
Related forms
boilingly, adverb
half-boiling, adjective
nonboiling, adjective


[boil] /bɔɪl/
verb (used without object)
to change from a liquid to a gaseous state, producing bubbles of gas that rise to the surface of the liquid, agitating it as they rise.
to reach or be brought to the boiling point:
When the water boils, add the meat and cabbage.
to be in an agitated or violent state:
The sea boiled in the storm.
to be deeply stirred or upset.
to contain, or be contained in, a liquid that boils:
The kettle is boiling. The vegetables are boiling.
verb (used with object)
to cause to boil or to bring to the boiling point:
Boil two cups of water.
to cook (something) in boiling water:
to boil eggs.
to separate (sugar, salt, etc.) from a solution containing it by boiling off the liquid.
the act or an instance of boiling.
the state or condition of boiling:
He brought a kettle of water to a boil.
an area of agitated, swirling, bubbling water, as part of a rapids.
Also called blow. Civil Engineering. an unwanted flow of water and solid matter into an excavation, due to excessive outside water pressure.
Verb phrases
boil down,
  1. to reduce the quantity of by boiling off liquid.
  2. to shorten; abridge.
  3. to be simplifiable or summarizable as; lead to the conclusion that; point:
    It all boils down to a clear case of murder.
boil over,
  1. to overflow while boiling or as if while boiling; burst forth; erupt.
  2. to be unable to repress anger, excitement, etc.:
    Any mention of the incident makes her boil over.
boil off, Textiles.
  1. to degum (silk).
  2. to remove (sizing, wax, impurities, or the like) from a fabric by subjecting it to a hot scouring solution.
Also, boil out.
1250-1300; Middle English boillen < Anglo-French, Old French boillir < Latin bullīre to bubble, effervesce, boil, verbal derivative of bulla bubble
3. foam, churn, froth. 4. rage. Boil, seethe, simmer, stew are used figuratively to refer to agitated states of emotion. To boil suggests the state of being very hot with anger or rage: Rage made his blood boil. To seethe is to be deeply stirred, violently agitated, or greatly excited: A mind seething with conflicting ideas. To simmer means to be on the point of bursting out or boiling over: to simmer with curiosity, with anger. To stew is to worry, to be in a restless state of anxiety and excitement: to stew about (or over ) one's troubles. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for boiling
  • We reduced the boiling water to a simmer and began adding the ingredients.
  • It's annoying and disappointing, but it doesn't affect me in that visceral, blood-boiling way that it affects others.
  • They are feisty creatures and will attempt to escape from a boiling pot onto your kitchen floor given the chance.
  • The pot of water is put on the fire, and the husks are added to the boiling water.
  • The animal matter is converted by boiling into gelatin.
  • The hydrothermal vents spew a toxic brew of boiling water, sulfur, and metal compounds.
  • Some species even live near the boiling vents of underwater volcanoes.
  • boiling water to make coffee or tea helped decrease the incidence of disease among workers in crowded cities.
  • Traditional methods of testing chemical residues require crushing or boiling vessel fragments.
  • If time allows, drive up the canyon, where a footbridge offers a white-knuckled view directly above boiling rapids.
British Dictionary definitions for boiling


adjective, adverb
very warm: a boiling hot day
(slang) the whole boiling, the whole lot


to change or cause to change from a liquid to a vapour so rapidly that bubbles of vapour are formed copiously in the liquid Compare evaporate
to reach or cause to reach boiling point
to cook or be cooked by the process of boiling
(intransitive) to bubble and be agitated like something boiling; seethe: the ocean was boiling
(intransitive) to be extremely angry or indignant (esp in the phrase make one's blood boil): she was boiling at his dishonesty
(intransitive) to contain a boiling liquid: the pot is boiling
the state or action of boiling (esp in the phrases on the boil, off the boil)
Derived Forms
boilable, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French boillir, from Latin bullīre to bubble, from bulla a bubble


a red painful swelling with a hard pus-filled core caused by bacterial infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissues, esp at a hair follicle Technical name furuncle
Word Origin
Old English bӯle; related to Old Norse beyla swelling, Old High German būlla bladder, Gothic ufbauljan to inflate
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 boiling



early 13c., from Old French bolir "boil, bubble up, ferment, gush" (12c., Modern French bouillir), from Latin bullire "to bubble, seethe," from PIE base *beu- "to swell" (see bull (n.2)). The native word is seethe. Figurative sense of "to agitate the feelings" is from 1640s.

I am impatient, and my blood boyls high. [Thomas Otway, "Alcibiades," 1675]
Related: Boiled; boiling. Boiling point is recorded from 1773.


"hard tumor," altered from Middle English bile (Kentish bele), perhaps by association with the verb; from Old English byl, byle "boil, carbuncle," from West Germanic *buljon- "swelling" (cf. Old Frisian bele, Old High German bulia, German Beule). Perhaps ultimately from PIE root *bhel- (2) "to swell" (see bole), or from *beu- "to grow, swell" (see bull (n.2); also cf. boast). Cf. Old Irish bolach "pustule," Gothic ufbauljan "to puff up," Icelandic beyla "hump."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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boiling in Medicine

boil (boil)
A painful, circumscribed pus-filled inflammation of the skin and subcutaneous tissue usually caused by a local staphylococcal infection. Also called furuncle.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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boiling in Science
To change from a liquid to a gaseous state by being heated to the boiling point and being provided with sufficient energy. Boiling is an example of a phase transition.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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boiling in the Bible

(rendered "botch" in Deut. 28:27, 35), an aggravated ulcer, as in the case of Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:7; Isa. 38:21) or of the Egyptians (Ex. 9:9, 10, 11; Deut. 28:27, 35). It designates the disease of Job (2:7), which was probably the black leprosy.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with boiling
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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