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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English bosom, bosum, from Old English bōsm, from Proto-West Germanic *bōsm, from Proto-Germanic *bōsmaz, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰewH- (to swell, bend, curve). Cognate with Saterland Frisian Bossem, Bousem (bosom), West Frisian boezem (bosom), Dutch boezem (bosom), German Busen (bosom). Related also to Albanian buzë (lip), Greek βυζί (vyzí, breast), Romanian buză (lip), Irish bus (lip), and Latin bucca (cheek).



bosom (plural bosoms)

  1. (anatomy, somewhat dated) The breast or chest of a human (or sometimes of another animal). [from 11thc.]
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      Serene, smiling, enigmatic, she faced him with no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes. [] She put back a truant curl from her forehead where it had sought egress to the world, and looked him full in the face now, drawing a deep breath which caused the round of her bosom to lift the lace at her throat.
  2. The seat of one's inner thoughts, feelings, etc.; one's secret feelings; desire. [from 13thc.]
    • 1844 January–December, W[illiam] M[akepeace] Thackeray, “The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq. [The Luck of Barry Lyndon.]”, in Miscellanies: Prose and Verse, volume III, London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1856, →OCLC:
      my poor dear duke [], in consequence of the excitement created in his august bosom by her frantic violence and grief, had a fit in which I very nigh lost him.
    • 1932, Maurice Baring, chapter 16, in Friday's Business:
      His uncle, a Cardinal, engages a Spanish youth of Moorish descent called Diego, an expert singer and player on the virginal, [] to cleanse his bosom of the perilous stuff, and cure him by the spell of his music.
  3. The protected interior or inner part of something; the area enclosed as by an embrace. [from 15thc.]
  4. The part of a dress etc. covering the chest; a neckline.
  5. A breast, one of a woman's breasts
    • 1833, E.K. Avery, B.F. Hallet, Trial of Rev. Mr. Avery, Boston, page 140:
      I dont [sic] know that her bosoms were fuller than usual.
    • 2003 April 7, Martin Kelner, The Guardian:
      The prevailing look at Aintree was of a well-upholstered woman wearing an outfit about three sizes too small for her; trouser suits so tight you could not only tell if the lady had a coin in her pocket but see if it was heads or tails, and skimpy tops proclaiming proudly that bosoms are back—and this time it's personal.
    • 2009, Emma Smith, The Great Western Beach, A&C Black, →ISBN, page 241:
      The baby was crammed against one of her bosoms. He was meant to be sucking milk out of it. The other bosom was hanging down, with a funny long red blob on the end.
  6. Any thing or place resembling the breast; a supporting surface; an inner recess; the interior.
    • 1711, Joseph Addison, The Spectator[1], number 26:
      I observed, indeed, that the present war had filled the church with many of these uninhabited monuments, which had been erected to the memory of persons whose bodies were perhaps buried in the plains of Blenheim, or in the bosom of the ocean.
    • 1864, George MacDonald, The Old Nurse's Story:
      The appointed place was on the edge of a deep, rocky ravine, down in whose dark bosom brawled and foamed a little mountain torrent.
  7. A depression round the eye of a millstone.
    • 1884, Edward Henry Knight, Knight's New Mechanical Dictionary[2], page 123:
      The bosom of the mill-stone is a central depression, and the staff is adjustable to test the symmetry of the concavity.


Derived terms[edit]



bosom (not comparable)

  1. In a very close relationship.
    bosom buddies
    • 1908 September 18, “Fatal fall of Wright airship”, in New York Times, Describing the death of Thomas Etholen Selfridge, first airplane fatality in history:
      Lieut. Creecy of the navy, who has been detailed to the aerial experiments at the fort, and who was a bosom companion of young Selfridge, was brokenhearted.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


bosom (third-person singular simple present bosoms, present participle bosoming, simple past and past participle bosomed)

  1. To enclose or carry in the bosom; to keep with care; to take to heart; to cherish.
  2. To conceal; to hide from view; to embosom.
    • 1741, Alexander Pope, The New Dunciad: As it was Found in the Year 1741[4], Dublin: George Faulkner, published 1742, Book IV, p 29, lines 291-292:
      To happy Convents bosom’d deep in Vines,
      Where slumber Abbots, purple as their Wines;
    • 1818, Lucy Aikin, Memoirs of the Court of Queen Elizabeth[5]:
      Those whom you feared most are now bosoming themselves in the queen's grace; and though her highness signified displeasure in outward sort, yet did she like the marrow of your book.
    • 1901, Stewart Edward White, The Claim Jumpers[6]:
      Beyond were the pines, and a rugged road, flint-edged, full of dips and rises, turns and twists, hovering on edges, or bosoming itself in deep rock-strewn cuts.
  3. (intransitive) To belly; to billow, swell or bulge.
    • 1869, Allan Hume, “My first Nests of Bonelli’s Eagle”, in The Ibis[7], Series 2, Volume 5, p. 145:
      Just above the recess the cliff bosomed out with a full swell for some two or three feet, effectually preventing any one’s looking down into the nest from above []
    • 1905, Alex Macdonald, In Search of El Dorado, London: T. Fisher Unwin, Part II, “The Five-Mile Rush,” p. 92,[8]
      What Stewart called a “langtailie coat” spread out behind him like streamers in a breeze, a “biled” collar had, in the same gentleman’s terse language, “burst its moorings” and projected in two miniature wings at the back of his ears, and a shirt that had once been white, bosomed out expansively through an open vest.
  4. (transitive) To belly; to cause to billow, swell or bulge.
    • 1822, James Hogg, The Three Perils of Man, London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, Volume 3, Chapter 12, pp. 440-441,[9]
      I looked again, and though I was sensible it must be a delusion brought on by the stroke of his powerful rod, yet I did see the appearance of a glorious fleet of ships coming bounding along the surface of the firmament of air, while every mainsail was bosomed out like the side of a Highland mountain.
    • 1855, The Scald [pseudonym of George Smellie], “Sketches of a Voyage to Hudson’s Bay” in The Sea: Sketches of a Voyage to Hudson’s Bay, and Other Poems, London: Hope & Co., p. 45,[10]
      Thus one by one they mount, and spreading wide,
      The transverse wings extend on either side,
      And, lightly bosomed by the gentle gale,
      She seems a moving pyramid of ail.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for “bosom”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.)


Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From Old English bōsm, from Proto-West Germanic *bōsm, from Proto-Germanic *bōsmaz.


  • IPA(key): /ˈbozum/, /ˈboːzum/, /-zəm/


bosom (plural bosomez)

  1. The enclosure formed by the breast and arms, embrace


  • English: bosom
  • Scots: bosum, bosome
  • >? Yola: besom