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Perhaps from Middle English blot, blout (soft; flexible; pliable), from Old Norse blautr (soft)[1], akin to Danish blød, Dutch bloot (nude) and German bloß (nude)[2].



bloat (third-person singular simple present bloats, present participle bloating, simple past and past participle bloated)

  1. To cause to become distended.
  2. (intransitive, veterinary medicine) To get an overdistended rumen, talking of a ruminant.
  3. To fill soft substance with gas, water, etc.; to cause to swell.
  4. (intransitive) To become distended; to swell up.
    • 1731, John Arbuthnot, An Essay Concerning the Nature of Aliments, and the Choice of Them, According to the Different Constitutions of Human Bodies. [], 1st Irish edition, Dublin: [] S. Powell, for George Risk, [], George Ewing, [], and William Smith, [], OCLC 756901661:
      if a Person of a firm Conſtitution begins to bloat, and from being warm grows cold, his Fibres grow weak, Anxiety and Palpitations of the Heart are a ſign of weak Fibres
  5. To fill with vanity or conceit.
    • 1675, John Dryden, Prologue to Circe by Dr. Davenant
      Encourage him, and bloat him up with Praise
  6. To preserve by slightly salting and lightly smoking.
    bloated herring
  7. To increase to an excessive amount.
    • December 15 2022, Samanth Subramanian, “Dismantling Sellafield: the epic task of shutting down a nuclear site”, in The Guardian[1]:
      In the UK, the fraction of electricity generated by nuclear plants has slid steadily downwards, from 25% in the 1990s to 16% in 2020. Of the five nuclear stations still producing power, only one will run beyond 2028. Hinkley Point C, the first new nuclear plant in a generation, is being built in Somerset, but its cost has bloated to more than £25bn.

Derived terms[edit]



bloat (countable and uncountable, plural bloats)

  1. Distention of the abdomen from death.
  2. (veterinary medicine) Pathological overdistention of rumen with gas in a ruminant.
    Synonym: ruminal tympany
  3. (figurative) Wasteful use of space or other resources.
    Adding an e-mail feature to this simple text editor would be pointless bloat.
  4. (derogatory, slang, dated) A worthless, dissipated fellow.



bloat (comparative more bloat, superlative most bloat)

  1. (obsolete) bloated.
    • 1602, William Shakespeare, “Act 3, Scene 4. The Queen's Closet.”, in The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark[2]:
      Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed


  1. ^ bloat in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary
  2. ^ Cognates in ODS