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Flowers growing from a bulb (lower left).


From Middle French bulbe, from Latin bulbus (bulb, onion), from Ancient Greek βολβός (bolbós, plant with round swelling on underground stem).



bulb (plural bulbs)

  1. Any solid object rounded at one end and tapering on the other, possibly attached to a larger object at the tapered end.
    the bulb of the aorta
  2. A light bulb.
  3. The bulb-shaped root portion of a plant such as a tulip, from which the rest of the plant may be regrown.
    • 2005, Plato, Sophist. Translation by Lesley Brown. 265c.
      the plants which grow in the earth from seed or bulbs.
  4. (nautical) a bulbous protuberance at the forefoot of certain vessels to reduce turbulence.

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bulb (third-person singular simple present bulbs, present participle bulbing, simple past and past participle bulbed)

  1. (intransitive) To take the shape of a bulb; to swell.