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or bowlder

[bohl-der] /ˈboʊl dər/
a detached and rounded or worn rock, especially a large one.
Origin of boulder
dialectal Swedish
1610-20; short for boulder stone; Middle English bulderston < Scandinavian; compare dialectal Swedish bullersten big stone (in a stream), equivalent to buller rumbling noise (< Old Swedish bulder) + sten stone
Related forms
bouldered, adjective
bouldery, adjective
Can be confused
bolder, boulder.


[bohl-der] /ˈboʊl dər/
a city in N Colorado. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for boulder
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He used to be an instructor down at boulder, and I stuck the pages of a lecture together on him one day.

    The Cross-Cut Courtney Ryley Cooper
  • He stooped; seized a boulder, hurled it at the oncoming Lee.

    The World Beyond Raymond King Cummings
  • About one bush to the half-mile was the average, and usually under a boulder at that.

  • The girl stumbled, struck her head against a boulder, and lay still.

    Loot of the Void Edwin K. Sloat
  • The boulder loomed before his eyes, still tumbling slowly, as it had when he had thrown it.

    The Dueling Machine Benjamin William Bova
British Dictionary definitions for boulder


a smooth rounded mass of rock that has a diameter greater than 25cm and that has been shaped by erosion and transported by ice or water from its original position
(geology) a rock fragment with a diameter greater than 256 mm and thus bigger than a cobble
Derived Forms
bouldery, adjective
Word Origin
C13: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish dialect bullersten, from Old Swedish bulder rumbling + stenstone
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 boulder

1670s, variant of Middle English bulder (c.1300), from a Scandinavian source akin to Swedish dialectal bullersten "noisy stone" (large stone in a stream, causing water to roar around it), from bullra "to roar" + sten "stone." Or the first element might be from *buller- "round object," from Proto-Germanic *bul-, from PIE *bhel- (2) "to inflate, swell" (see bole).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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