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From Old Norse bylgja[1], from Proto-Germanic *bulgijǭ. Cognates include Danish bølge, Middle High German bulga and Low German bulge.



billow ‎(plural billows)

  1. A large wave, swell, surge, or undulating mass of something, such as water, smoke, fabric or sound
    • Cowper
      whom the winds waft where'er the billows roll
    • 18??, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Brook and the Wave:
      And the brooklet has found the billow / Though they flowed so far apart.
    • 1922, Clark Ashton Smith, The Caravan:
      Have the swirling sands engulfed them, on a noon of storm when the desert rose like the sea, and rolled its tawny billows on the walled gardens of the green and fragrant lands?



billow ‎(third-person singular simple present billows, present participle billowing, simple past and past participle billowed)

  1. To surge or roll in billows
    • 1920, Peter B. Kyne, The Understanding Heart, Chapter II:
      During the preceding afternoon a heavy North Pacific fog had blown in … Scudding eastward from the ocean, it had crept up and over the redwood-studded crests of the Coast Range mountains, [] , billowing steadily eastward, it had rolled up the western slopes of the Siskiyou Range, []
  2. To swell out or bulge



  1. ^ Etymology in w:Online Etymology Dictionary