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[bohl-der] /ˈboʊl dər/
a detached and rounded or worn rock, especially a large one.
Also, bowlder.
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 boulders
  • Crowds of boulders have been perched on the sides of the hills and dropped over the plains.
  • There are lots of tall pine trees and humongous, light beige boulders lie scattered about everywhere.
  • Glaciers slowly grind their way over mountains and plains, moving immense boulders and carving out fjords.
  • Go to any rapidly flowing mountain stream and observe the size of the much smaller boulders that do not move.
  • Blades produce a random mix of dust and boulders that will make your espresso bitter.
  • Players can rearrange trees and boulders, reconfigure buildings, or hollow out new caves in hillsides.
  • The trunk lid and rear bumper and rocket were visible, but the rest of the car was buried under boulders and rubble.
  • boulders were banging against each other as the torrent pushed them downstream.
  • And as he or she struggles uphill, look who's rolling boulders down.
  • The beach of the cove is heavily strewn with giant boulders.
British Dictionary definitions for boulders


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 boulders



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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