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Flowers growing from a bulb (lower left).


From Middle French bulbe, from Latin bulbus ‎(bulb, onion), from Ancient Greek βολβός ‎(bolbós, plant with round swelling on underground stem).



bulb ‎(plural bulbs)

  1. Any solid object rounded at one end and tapering on the other, possibly attached to a larger object at the tapered end.
    the bulb of the aorta
  2. A light bulb.
  3. The bulb-shaped root portion of a plant such as a tulip, from which the rest of the plant may be regrown.
    • 2005, Plato, Sophist. Translation by Lesley Brown. 265c.
      the plants which grow in the earth from seed or bulbs.
    • 2015 February 7, Val Bourne, “The quiet man of the world of snowdrops”, The Daily Telegraph (London), page G8:
      Once it [a snowdrop variety] became established, some bulbs were lifted and passed on to be chipped (i.e. cut into small pieces and grown on).
  4. (nautical) a bulbous protuberance at the forefoot of certain vessels to reduce turbulence.

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bulb ‎(third-person singular simple present bulbs, present participle bulbing, simple past and past participle bulbed)

  1. (intransitive) To take the shape of a bulb; to swell.