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A bowl.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /bəʊl/, /bɔʊl/
  • (US) IPA(key): /boʊl/
  • Rhymes: -əʊl
  • (file)

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English bolle, from Old English bolla, bolle (bowl, cup, pot, beaker, measure), from Proto-Germanic *bullô, *bullǭ (ball, round vessel, bowl), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰl̥-, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰel- (to blow, inflate, swell, bubble). Cognate with North Frisian bol (bun, bread roll), Middle Low German bolle, bole (round object), Dutch bol (ball, sphere, scoop, dot), German Bolle (bulb), Danish bolle (bowl, bread roll), Icelandic bolli (cup).


bowl (plural bowls)

  1. A roughly hemispherical container used to hold, mix or present food, such as salad, fruit or soup, or other items.
  2. As much as is held by a bowl.
    You can’t have any more soup – you’ve had three bowls already.
  3. A haircut in which straight hair is cut at an even height around the edges, forming a bowl shape.
  4. The round hollow part of anything.
    Direct the cleaning fluid around the toilet bowl and under the rim.
    1. The part of a spoon that holds content, as opposed to the handle.
    2. A part of a pipe or bong packed with marijuana for smoking
      • 2010, Mark Arax, West of the West[1], page 221:
        “Purple smoke is no joke. Especially when it is real purple. The smell, taste, and high is easily one of the best in the world. One bowl of some purple Kush, and I'm done for a couple of hours.
      Let's smoke a bowl!
    3. (typography) A rounded portion of a glyph that encloses empty space, as in the letters d and o.
  5. A round crater (or similar) in the ground.
  6. (sports, theater) An elliptical-shaped stadium or amphitheater resembling a bowl.
  7. (American football) A postseason football competition, a bowl game (i.e. Rose Bowl, Super Bowl)
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English bowle, boule, from Old French boule (ball), from Latin bulla (bubble, stud, round object), from Proto-Indo-European *bōul- (bubble, round object). Cognate with Middle Low German poll (head, top, summit). More at poll.


bowl (plural bowls)

  1. The ball rolled by players in the game of lawn bowls.
  2. The action of bowling a ball.
  3. (in the plural, but used with a singular verb) The game of bowls.


bowl (third-person singular simple present bowls, present participle bowling, simple past and past participle bowled)

  1. (transitive) To roll or throw (a ball) in the correct manner in cricket and similar games and sports.
    • Shakespeare
      Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel, / And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven.
  2. (intransitive) To throw the ball (in cricket and similar games and sports).
  3. To roll or carry smoothly on, or as on, wheels.
    We were bowled rapidly along the road.
  4. To pelt or strike with anything rolled.
    • Shakespeare
      Alas, I had rather be set quick i' the earth, / And bowled to death with turnips.
Derived terms[edit]