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From Middle English ulage, from Anglo-Norman ulliage, from *ullier (to fill a partially empty cask), from Old French oel (bunghole", literally, "eye), from Latin oculus (eye). See French ouillage.



ullage (countable and uncountable, plural ullages)

  1. In a wine bottle, the empty space between the cork and the top of the wine.
  2. In a cask or barrel, the empty space, occupied by air, that is created by not completely filling the cask or barrel, or through spillage.
    • 1840, Joseph Bateman, The Excise Officer's Manual and Improved Gauger:
      The dry ullage will be obtained in the same manner, the dry inches being used instead of the wet.
  3. The topping-up of such a barrel with fresh wine.
  4. In an industrial setting, the empty space in a tank, such as for fuel.
    • 1950, Marine Regulations, Esso Shipping Company, page 234:
      Upon completion of loading, all cargo tanks shall again be inspected and ullages carefully measured and recorded, with temperatures, in the Cargo Record Book, Port Log and Supplementary Loading and Discharging Report.

Derived terms[edit]


ullage (third-person singular simple present ullages, present participle ullaging, simple past and past participle ullaged)

  1. To gauge the amount of empty space between the top of a cask and the level of liquid inside it.
    • 1856, Arnold James Cooley, A Cyclopaedia of Practical Receipts and Collateral Information in the Arts:
      The Duties on Spirits in England are charged on the number of proof gallons they contain, which is ascertained by first “gauging” or “ullaging” the liquor, and then “trying its strength” by Sike's hydrometer, in the way already described []