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[boo l-yuh n] /ˈbʊl yən/
gold or silver considered in mass rather than in value.
gold or silver in the form of bars or ingots.
Also called bullion fringe. a thick trimming of cord covered with gold or silver thread, for decorating uniforms.
embroidery or lace worked with gold wire or gold or silver cords.
Origin of bullion
1300-50; Middle English: melted mass of gold or silver < Anglo-Latin bulliōn- (stem of bulliō) in same sense (< Anglo-French bullion mint), literally, a boiling, equivalent to bull(īre) to bubble, boil1 + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
bullionless, adjective
Can be confused
bouillon, bullion. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bullion
  • bullion coins are gaining in popularity and many nations find them a lucrative way to raise funds.
  • Even if industrial users foresee shortages, there are ample stocks of bullion in private hands to satisfy demand.
  • With bullion prices rising and economic doubts gathering, times should be good for gold producers.
  • It does not pay them any interest, though they may earn a little by lending it to bullion dealers.
  • bullion is denominated by weight and purity, not in dollars.
  • It has also clamped down on the grey-market trade in bullion.
  • It has spawned networks of smugglers who take much of the bullion out of the country and trade it for dollars, weapons or drugs.
  • Unless you take delivery of bullion and then start minting coins you are going to have to use a paper currency at some point.
  • Everyone who had money and invested it in anything other than gold bullion lost money.
  • Paper money, it seemed, had to be convertible into bullion on demand for it to be accepted.
British Dictionary definitions for bullion


gold or silver in mass
gold or silver in the form of bars and ingots, suitable for further processing
Also called bullion fringe. a thick gold or silver wire or fringed cord used as a trimming, as on military uniforms
Word Origin
C14 (in the sense: melted gold or silver): from Anglo-French: mint, probably from Old French bouillir to boil, from Latin bullīre
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 bullion

early 15c., "uncoined gold or silver," from Anglo-French bullion "bar of precious metal," also "place where coins are made, mint," perhaps, through the notion of "melting," from Old French boillir "to boil," from Latin bullire "boil" (see boil (v.)). But perhaps it is rather from Old French bille "stick, block of wood" (see billiards).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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