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The belly of a pregnant woman.


From Middle English beli, from Old English bælġ, from Proto-Germanic *balgiz, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰelǵʰ-(to swell, blow up). See also bellows.



belly ‎(plural bellies)

  1. The abdomen, especially a fat one.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Dunglison to this entry?)
  2. The stomach.
  3. The womb.
    • Bible, Jer. i. 5
      Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee.
  4. The lower fuselage of an airplane.
    • 1994, Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, Abacus 2010, p. 454:
      There was no heat, and we shivered in the belly of the plane.
  5. The part of anything which resembles the human belly in protuberance or in cavity; the innermost part.
    the belly of a flask, muscle, violin, sail, or ship
    • Bible, Jonah ii. 2
      Out of the belly of hell cried I.
  6. (architecture) The hollow part of a curved or bent timber, the convex part of which is the back.

Derived terms[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

  • Formerly, all the splanchnic or visceral cavities were called bellies: the lower belly being the abdomen; the middle belly, the thorax; and the upper belly, the head.
  • Applied to the human body, the word is nowadays considered by some to be impolite or even coarse.


See also[edit]


belly ‎(third-person singular simple present bellies, present participle bellying, simple past and past participle bellied)

  1. To position one's belly.
  2. (intransitive) To swell and become protuberant; to bulge.
    • Dryden
      The bellying canvas strutted with the gale.
  3. (transitive) To cause to swell out; to fill.
    • Shakespeare
      Your breath of full consent bellied his sails.

Derived terms[edit]