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1560s, "an onion," from Middle French bulbe (15c.), from Latin bulbus "bulb, bulbous root, onion," from Greek bolbos "plant with round swelling on underground stem." Expanded by 1800 to "swelling in a glass tube" (thermometer bulb, light bulb, etc.).
A globular or fusiform anatomical structure or enlargement.
A rounded underground storage organ that contains the shoot of a new plant. A bulb consists of a short stem surrounded by fleshy scales (modified leaves) that store nourishment for the new plant. Tulips, lilies, and onions grow from bulbs. Compare corm, rhizome, runner, tuber.
dim bulb (1960s+)