Definition of bilge in English:



  • 1The area on the outer surface of a ship's hull where the bottom curves to meet the vertical sides.

    • ‘This large volume, well presented, round bilge, steel Fairwind has all the options a cruising boat could want.’
    • ‘It allows amateur boatbuilders to produce rounded hulls which even professional yacht designers have sometimes mistaken for true round bilge boats.’
    • ‘The radius bilge shape so closely resembles a fully developed round bilge hull that there is virtually no difference as far as performance or aesthetics are concerned.’
    • ‘The grid is bonded to the hull throughout the bilge.’
    • ‘Further down in the bilge, however, no material, not even mighty bronze, is impervious to the marine environment.’
    • ‘The 55m patrol vessel uses a steel monohull with a round bilge semi-displacement hull, incorporating very fine V-shaped frames in the forward sections.’
    • ‘Round bilge can be used for any displacement type hull especially those that are to be used for long distance voyaging.’
    • ‘Pearl woke up with sunrise the next morning in a dark, musty cell in the bilge of the large ship.’
    • ‘Furthermore the hull form of an icebreaker is not apt to dampen efficiently the rolling motion because the side form in an icebreaker is round at bilge.’
    • ‘The poop deck, forecastle and upper deck were beautifully kept, although the bilge had suffered from some leakage and had been poorly patched up.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, the long over-hangs, broad bilges, shallow draft and centerboards encouraged by the rule do not make for a boat that is particularly fast upwind.’
    • ‘Plans and frame patterns available for building the Spray 22 in round bilge fiberglass, multi chine steel or multi chine plywood.’
    • ‘The hull shape is of a round bilge construction with bulbous bow and sterns keg, flared stem and transom stern.’
    • ‘The consensus is that the insured should have had a non-combustible tarpaulin or heat retardant blanket of some form hung from the top of the bilge area down to the bottom of the bilge against the exhaust port hole on the inside of the boat.’
    • ‘We stopped the engine, replaced the hose and pumped the bilge, all the while explaining to the guests that this was a perfectly normal type of running maintenance, something you do almost every day.’
    1. 1.1bilges The lowest internal portion of the hull.
      • ‘The crabs are among a range of animals - including European green crab and Asian kelp - that have been bought to British shores in ships' bilges and are considered to constitute one of the world's most serious environmental problems.’
      • ‘It just shows however that you might have to be more protective of the waters that go in and out of the bilges of ships as they come in and out of your harbours.’
      • ‘So those two junior guys who might be cleaning bilges on a bigger ship are an integral part of this ARG.’
      • ‘They aren't just cleaning bilges and swabbing decks.’
      • ‘He overlooks the damage caused by the relatively small amounts of oil discharged when ships empty their bilges at sea, particularly in the North-West Atlantic.’
      • ‘Millions of small oil spills, primarily from ships cleaning their bilges, go unreported and undetected each year.’
      • ‘It's the same in the bilges and engine room, the chain locker, the staterooms, bridge and captain's quarters, just mounds of slimy, grey-green mud.’
      • ‘The same device was also used to pump water out of the bilges of ships.’
      • ‘The engine is low in the bilge yet there is excellent access for routine maintenance.’
      • ‘The cause of Sunday's fire was traced to an electrical fault in the bilges of the vessel.’
      • ‘But ripping yarns of undersea adventure failed to describe stinking bilges and hideous, overflowing buckets of garbage or worse.’
      • ‘Salt water and wet bilges will expedite the deterioration, although 10-15 years is a reasonable life expectancy.’
      • ‘Gasoline in the bilge is extremely dangerous as staring the engine can cause an explosion or fire.’
      • ‘Blaming their own ignorance, they recount how in the past they would pump oil overboard or let oil collect in their boat's bilges.’
      • ‘However one insider told the Sunday Herald that at the time of the initial leak, coolant was already leaking ‘by the bathtub’ with dozens of litres of irradiated water escaping into the bilges.’
      • ‘Waste from the ship's bilges is pumped into holding tanks, then run through separators to remove water from the oil.’
      • ‘Miller, the Happy Feet consultant, says tens of thousands of penguins die every year from oil pollution that may occur when ships clean out their bilges.’
      • ‘However, water in the bilges, moving between the inner and outer skins as the ship rolled, did create a small amount of air movement in the lower deck cabins.’
      • ‘We can find it in collection holding tanks, salt water lines, bilges, void spaces, and storage tanks.’
      • ‘Federal regulations do not address tank installations in bilges of boats, nor must tank materials be tested for corrosion resistance.’
    2. 1.2mass noun Dirty water that collects inside the bilges.
      • ‘Tighter rules on oil emissions in bilge water, anti-fouling paints and recycling are also likely to follow.’
      • ‘Other discharges include 37,000 gallons of oily bilge water and 15 gallons of toxic waste from dry-cleaning, painting and photograph-processing.’
      • ‘Often it arrived in the form of ballast in the bellies of ships, which ensured that everything apart from the bilge water could be traded to maximise the trip.’
      • ‘Over time the insulation on these very flexible wires degrades, allowing a small current to flow through the salty bilge water.’
      • ‘Even better news is that certain synthetic materials in the polypropylene family can pick up the oil and leave the water behind, enabling you to discharge clean bilge water.’
      • ‘Bilge pumps in recreational boats are only intended to remove normal accumulations of bilge water and sea spray.’
      • ‘The bilge and sea water systems and pumps were replaced throughout.’
      • ‘‘The chief engineer would order us to pump bilge water and sump oil directly into the sea,’ said Jun. ‘He got us to replace the pipes from the filtration system to do this.’’
      • ‘Every year, for example, oil tankers, freighters and cruise ships dump millions of litres of oil through routine exchanges of bilge water and other ship activities.’
      • ‘There was a gentle splash as the lead dropped below into the bilge water.’
      • ‘Oily bilge water is also created by the project team to be fed into the system.’
      • ‘The moisture could be the water in which the boat is sitting and which permeates the gel coat or it could be bilge water from inside the hull.’
      • ‘The Holland, MI, builder says that aluminum ‘drop’ sump style fuel tanks installed at the centerlines of hulls of the targeted boats may be immersed in standing bilge water, causing corrosion.’
      • ‘Eurasian Zebra mussels, brought in by bilge water in ships, cause $5 billion damage annually to the Great Lakes.’
      • ‘For example, Tiara / S2 Yachts made waves last year by voluntarily recalling hundreds of boats because of aluminum fuel tank failures due to corrosion from bilge water.’
      • ‘They absorb only gas and oil as they float in the bilge water.’
      • ‘This wooden pump was used for irrigation and to pump bilge water from ships.’
      • ‘To reduce the chances of corrosion, the tank should sit well above the bottom of the bilge and there must be air, not bilge water, beneath it.’
      • ‘One boat owner who did not take care of a fuel tank leak and was spewing fuel out with his bilge water was turned in by passing boaters who saw a long oil slick coming from his boat.’
      • ‘Australia's BlueRay Marine Security System is one of the new breed that monitors your boat, reporting intruders, fire and gas detection, high bilge water and engine status.’
  • 2informal mass noun Nonsense; rubbish.

    ‘romantic bilge dreamed up by journalists’
    • ‘Most English speakers would, whilst stifling an urge to vomit at such bilge, recognise the reference to the two meanings of the word ‘bulb’.’
    • ‘Which makes me wonder - are we turning into a country with no need for newspapers, or are we just turned off by their miserable diet of meanness, lightened with bilge about ever-less famous celebrities?’
    • ‘Never mind that it was complete and utter bilge.’
    • ‘This is ignored, and he remarks bitterly, in what is probably the best Charters and Caldicott line ever, ‘Waste of time, having all this bilge in the passport!’’
    • ‘Eagle-eyed readers have spotted that this post is complete bilge.’
    • ‘They share a penchant for sticking their snouts up the backside of tyrants and then spewing verbal bilge.’
    • ‘Whatever you said while wearing it would sound like bilge.’
    • ‘In other words, bah, humbug, I'm the 37,000th person to give this poorly-made bilge free publicity!’
    • ‘I can barely remember reading such unutterable bilge as his effort today.’
    • ‘Not for her the kind of soporific bilge spouted by too many of her peers.’
    • ‘I can't believe there is someone getting around calling himself Reverend espousing such vile bilge.’
    • ‘I contemplated not responding to this sickening bilge, but I realised your attitudes are most likely based in your lack of coherent thought patterns and an ignorance of history.’
    • ‘Sat around for an hour one night watching an episode of this bilge thinking ‘y'know, he reminds me of someone’.’
    • ‘And I say alas because the stuff aired in the morning is bilge and drivel - I fear the day Gnat is interested in this stuff, because it's incredibly boring.’
    • ‘As a regular visitor to Edinburgh, residing at my club in the city, I was horrified by the contents of this anti-French bilge in your newspaper.’
    • ‘I did manage to salvage quite a few of the ideas but tossed about 40,000 words of total bilge.’
    • ‘I don't want to force myself to listen to bilge just in order to find some merit in it.’
    • ‘A proto-sampling record you may say but I bought a copy for 10p and it is bilge.’
    • ‘Certainly, reading such bilge is the only time I feel like voting for them.’
    • ‘I am by no means a pop music fan but in the run-up to Christmas it seems the army of plebs who buy this bilge lose any last remnant of taste and self-respect they ever had.’
    rubbish, balderdash, gibberish, claptrap, blarney, guff, blather, blether
    nonsense, rubbish, balderdash, gibberish, claptrap, blarney, guff, blather, blether
    View synonyms


[with object]archaic
  • Break a hole in the bilge of (a ship).

    • ‘In ten minutes after the first concussion, and while the engines were still turning astern, the ship, as stated, struck again under the engine room, bilging the side several feet, and tearing open the bottom.’
    • ‘Now, the danger of bilging and spoiling all the powder suggests to me the plan of anchoring in case of a surf close under the fort.’
    • ‘It is the responsibility of the government that it bilged the boat of democracy.’
    • ‘The ship continued to beat on the rocks; and soon bilging, fell with her broadside towards the shore.’
    • ‘As an auxiliary to the bilging by boring, the masts are often cut away under the pretence of making her "lie easy," or to prevent "thumping."’


Late 15th century: probably a variant of bulge.