Definition of bubble in English:



  • 1A thin sphere of liquid enclosing air or another gas.

    ‘we'd shake up a piece of soap in a tin of warm water and blow bubbles’
    • ‘The crabs twitched and blew frothy bubbles, showing off their freshness with an occasional contraction of a pincer, as they lolled numbly in a shallow ice-filled tray.’
    • ‘And don't forget to show your toddlers how to float on their backs and blow bubbles.’
    • ‘The 33-year-old invested £50 in a machine to blow bubbles at shoppers as they passed by.’
    • ‘Holding her breath, she dove into the water and blew bubbles.’
    • ‘Blow bubbles - use washing-up liquid or a bottle of bubble mixture to create shimmering bubbles in the air, then watch them float away.’
    • ‘My fish has blown some bubbles in his tank, so he must be happy lately for some reason.’
    • ‘Children can enjoy using twisted wire coat hangers to blow bubbles.’
    • ‘Blowing bubbles was always a favorite pastime during the summertime.’
    • ‘Her wet-sleeved urchin takes advantage of the soapy water to blow bubbles.’
    • ‘I learned how to hold my breath underwater, blow bubbles out my nose, and kick.’
    • ‘They left the church in a shower of bubbles, blown by all the guests.’
    • ‘All of a sudden bubbles were flying everywhere as James jumped out, grabbed a towel and wrapped it hastily around his waist.’
    • ‘Then I was blowing bubbles like the rest of them.’
    • ‘Today Corey had a bright red bottle of soapy water, and was blowing bubbles whenever the teacher turned his back.’
    • ‘She had created this illusion with her faith, as one makes bubbles, blowing on soap water.’
    • ‘It was made up of spheres, looking like bubbles on the ocean surface.’
    • ‘Place splotches of color as desired onto page, then blow bubbles through a bubble wand onto the page.’
    • ‘Sasha watched as Annie and Patrick blew bubbles by dipping a wand into soapy water.’
    • ‘Blowing bubbles is a favourite pastime of many children, but not one normally associated with school.’
    • ‘I watched my daughter and her friend, captivated by a circle of people blowing bubbles.’
    globe, ball, orb, spheroid, globule, round
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    1. 1.1An air- or gas-filled spherical cavity in a liquid or a solidified liquid such as glass.
      ‘the white foamy part of a broken wave is largely made up of air bubbles’
      • ‘The raising effect is caused by the heat reacting with other ingredients to form air bubbles of CO2, and these are trapped in the gluten forming pockets in the dough.’
      • ‘Chemical analysis of the ice and the air bubbles in these cores provide a picture of climate and atmosphere during the past 110,000 years.’
      • ‘Derek picked up one of his mother's paperweights from the table: a glass bird trapped inside a glass bubble, trying to peck its way free.’
      • ‘Bits of it glowed with a strange, orange light, trapped within tall bubbles of glass.’
      • ‘A beaker of soda glass with air bubbles and figures on either side of the coat-of-arms, and dated 1624’
      • ‘To his intense distraction the delicate bubbles rise over the glass's rim and flow onto the table.’
      • ‘Add four eggs and half a cup of water to the paste and beat well with an egg beater till very frothy and air bubbles appear.’
      • ‘For instance, some of Le Bec-Fin's champagnes have to be in a curved glass in order to keep the bubbles inside the glass.’
      • ‘Spectra acquired from liquid samples that are inhomogeneous or that contain air bubbles can yield erroneous concentration values.’
      • ‘Plasma is a lightweight surface carefully coated with millions of tiny glass bubbles.’
      • ‘The water swirled around the glass, catching little bubbles of air and refusing to allow them to escape.’
      • ‘A popular form in the 1760s was the result of twisting opaque white or coloured glass into the stem, instead of air bubbles.’
      • ‘A proper, complete filling of the cell with liquid ensured the absence of the air bubbles while the cell was stirred.’
      • ‘Stirring the mortar sample for 30 seconds releases entrained air bubbles into a viscous liquid at the base of a column of water.’
      • ‘Drink from a tulip shaped glass to keep the bubbles in longer.’
      • ‘It's such a simple idea: chocolate with air bubbles in it.’
      • ‘For example, true Pilsners should be served in tall glasses to allow the continuous stream of sparkling bubbles to create a dense head and carry the hop aroma upwards.’
      • ‘I just stared at an ornament on her desk, a glass paperweight riddled with air bubbles.’
      • ‘Drawn beads are produced from a bubble of molten glass that is drawn into a long hollow tube.’
      • ‘One that caught my eye seemed to be a mass of bubbles in blown glass.’
      globule, bead, blister, drop
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  • 2Used to refer to a good or fortunate situation that is isolated from reality or unlikely to last.

    ‘we both lived in a bubble, the kind provided by occupying a privileged pied-à-terre in Greenwich Village’
    • ‘He lives in a bubble of his own making, surrounded by a small number of friends and family.’
    • ‘Well, I'm flattered that people even say that to me, but personally, at this point in my life I don't think I would want the job, because the president really lives in a bubble.’
    • ‘An earlier passage reflects a similar assessment of the reality in which she lives: "I had spent my early childhood in the U.S. where I lived in a bubble created by my Puerto Rican parents".’
    • ‘"Truthfully, to me, it seems like college students are in their own little bubble," he said.’
    • ‘Polite, deferential service in an old-school Continental-restaurant mode increases the sense of being suspended in a bubble of privilege for a few comfortable hours.’
    • ‘Scroggins quotes many of Emma's friends, who describe her naivety, her refusal to take life seriously, the fact that "she lived in a bubble".’
    • ‘Granted, RMS lives in his own little bubble half the time’
    • ‘He lived in a bubble, a microcosmic world, traveling by train through war-torn Germany with the windows shaded.’
    • ‘It was such a polished, and tight performance that even if you had been living in a bubble you could tell these guys were seasoned pros.’
    • ‘I live in my own little bubble, completely obsessed with my own world and nothing else.’
    illusion, delusion, fantasy, dream, pipe dream, daydream, chimera, vanity, castle in the air
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    1. 2.1Used to refer to a significant, usually rapid, increase in asset prices that is soon followed by a collapse in prices and typically arises from speculation or enthusiasm rather than intrinsic increases in value.
      ‘the US economy squandered trillions as a result of the 1990s stock market bubble’
      ‘many companies enjoyed rapid expansion before the bubble burst’
      • ‘Ever since the bubble burst about three years ago, anyone with a job probably felt lucky to have work at all.’
      • ‘There has even been talk that housing could experience a crash reminiscent of the tech bubble.’
      • ‘In almost every case, within a year after the bubble burst, people were eager to buy again.’
      • ‘The tech bubble was one of the great manias of all time.’
      • ‘When the dot-com bubble burst, much of the country's venture capital seemed to go with it.’
      • ‘A rise in rates could help to avoid another dangerous bubble by warning investors and homebuyers that asset prices cannot rise for ever.’
      • ‘He argues that financial bubbles can lead to economic instability, with hard-to-control deflationary consequences.’
      • ‘Well, even after the bubble burst, housing prices continued to rise.’
      • ‘When we have a boom-and-bust cycle like the Internet bubble, failures are almost inevitable.’
      • ‘And there is less sympathy for well-educated IT workers, many of whom benefited from a dramatic run-up in salaries during the bubble.’
      • ‘Market bubble or no, there are good reasons - and smart ways - to invest in real estate.’
      • ‘But, they got too caught up in the dotcom hype, and when the bubble burst they refused to admit that things had changed.’
      • ‘After the Internet bubble burst, people stopped thinking about the transforming powers of technology.’
      • ‘Our shrewdest move was not overreacting to the bubble or to the bust.’
      • ‘The root cause of this recession was the bursting of one of the biggest financial bubbles in history.’
      • ‘Low interest rates have helped generate a housing bubble that has lifted real estate prices to ludicrous heights in major parts of the country.’
      • ‘During the Internet bubble we hired anyone who knew certain IT buzzwords.’
      • ‘What we had in the 1990s was a classic bubble.’
      • ‘Some think we may now have a potentially dangerous housing bubble that could pop.’
      • ‘Then, the bubble burst and thousands of investors were ruined.’
      • ‘The family-owned auction firm has built its success on the excesses associated with economic fads and stock-market bubbles.’
      • ‘Although officials denied that the city's real estate market is in a dangerous bubble, they are thinking of ways to slow its further expansion.’
      • ‘Two months after Adams started sending out her business plan to venture capitalists and angels, the Internet bubble popped, and suddenly investors were guarding their checkbooks more closely.’
  • 3A transparent domed cover or enclosure.

    ‘piglets born into a sterile bubble’
    • ‘As a result, much of the child's short life is spent in a sterile plastic bubble, a barrier to potentially life threatening infectious organisms.’
    • ‘Will we one day have to undergo scores of vaccinations in order to feel safe, or live in sterile bubbles?’
    • ‘The airport terminal, he also noticed was covered in a large bubble.’
    • ‘Amy is currently in an isolation bubble to protect her from infection.’
    • ‘To let in light, they punctured 23 holes in the roof, at least one for every room, and covered them with Plexiglas bubbles.’
    • ‘He held up a black cylinder the size of a pen that had a red button on the top, which was covered by a hard plastic safety bubble.’
    • ‘Buckminster-Fuller's fantasy of a city enclosed in a transparent bubble may yet not be too far distant.’
    • ‘Hey, the Government here could just build a big perspex bubble that would cover the whole island, excepting the beaches!’
    • ‘The former Mr. Marvels site, already closed, will be the hub of the scheme where a water park with health and fitness amenities will be created on the cliff top under a huge transparent bubble.’
    • ‘What we need to do is to enclose the entire ground in a gigantic transparent plastic bubble.’
    1. 3.1A place or position that is protected from danger or unpleasant reality.
      ‘they are not on tour packages seeing foreign ports from a bubble’
      • ‘The reaction many critics have to this sea of choices is to try and create a restrictive little bubble in their own image and then only allow access to people who can conform to that shape.’
      • ‘Earlier this month, a cover story depicted him as living inside a bubble, isolated from knowledge of the real world.’
      • ‘O'Neill, however, does not live in a bubble of isolation.’
      • ‘Still, Ryan is unsure how this approach will translate to his life outside the politically charged, academic bubble of Smith College.’
      • ‘The residents' bubble of isolation has always been a blessing and a curse.’
      • ‘All in all, it has remained an isolated bubble - abstract, experimental, and virtual.’
      • ‘Still, ideology scores high marks for the true believers who isolate themselves in a bubble of unreality.’
      • ‘Too easy to go about your business in your car and stay in your little protected bubble and not see what's around you.’
      • ‘The motto was you have to step out of your bubble, your safety zone, and into your risk zone.’
      • ‘The bubble of safety was gone, people shouldering carelessly by her as they moved down the street.’
      • ‘At a formal level, experimentation started in a bubble of isolation, but decidedly against the tropes of the zhuanti pian.’
      • ‘When we're isolated inside our American bubble, our problem seems as if it's only our problem.’
      • ‘Sporting an infuriating lack of any understanding of anything outside the sterile bubble of the limited experiences of their pampered little lives.’
      • ‘And the way she acted was like she had been shielded from all of the awful, cruel, inhumane things of the world, like she was in the safety of her own bubble.’
      • ‘In the sporting world at least, the United States remains firmly confined within an isolationist bubble.’
      • ‘It was getting harder for the little man to maintain his bubble of safety but he fought on.’
      • ‘The isolation bubble in which national politicians are forced to live has been plain enough to see for the last quarter of a century.’
      • ‘While there are all sorts of useful databases and modeling packages being developed by biotech firms and labs, they all exist in isolated developmental bubbles.’
      • ‘Isolationists live in bubbles and are not aware that they will burst.’
      • ‘How can distances to objects be surveyed beyond our neighborhood bubble?’
  • 4A marine mollusc that typically has a thin scroll-like shell.

    • ‘We do not know enough about the the other sea-slugs, in particular the Bubble Shells, even to make a reasonable guess of their numbers’
    • ‘When the animal dies, the shells often wash up on beaches and are hard to distinguish from the bubbles produced by waves splashing on the shore, hence the name ‘bubble shells.’’
    • ‘It reminds me of another bubble shell, Hydatina amplustre, which has pink bands on its shell, but the shape of the animal certainly looks like Micromelo.’
    • ‘This little bubble was sorted out of shell grit collected from 10 meters of water. Anakena Beach, Easter Island. March, 1998.’
    • ‘I haven't been able to locate a photograph of this little bubble on the internet, and it is not figured in any of my conchological references or other books.’


  • 1 (of a liquid) form rising bubbles of gas or air.

    ‘a pot of coffee bubbled away on the stove’
    • ‘She saw the boats pulling away from the docks and the water foamed and bubbled beneath them.’
    • ‘Finally, removing a stout wedge from a crack in a rocky ledge, water bubbled out and the brothers watched as the thin stream washed the sands away, revealing the ancient walls of the camp.’
    • ‘Once the ingredients are blended and the liquid is starting to bubble, add the potatoes, making sure they are all coated with the cream.’
    • ‘Geoffrey nodded sympathetically as the water bubbled towards the top of the drum.’
    • ‘After the pine tar has bubbled, gently re-heat the base and wipe off the excess pine tar with a clean cloth or fiberlene.’
    • ‘You just place your hand below and water will bubble out.’
    • ‘The sweet-smelling spaghetti sauce bubbled in the pot, as I put a cover on it.’
    • ‘As the soup bubbled on the stove emitting an enticing aroma of chicken and herbs, Adam searched through Clara's cupboards and pantry again until he found a tray.’
    • ‘He looked inside, and the dark brown liquid bubbled slightly, sizzling.’
    • ‘When you suck through the tube, the water bubbles and filters the smoke to make it cool and smooth.’
    • ‘A coffee percolating machine was bubbling in the corner, making the room smell welcoming.’
    • ‘He clapped his hands in delight as twin ribbons of sparkling water bubbled out, splashing against the bottom of the tub.’
    • ‘Meanwhile Andrew lived simply on a diet of mussels and whelks and the occasional boiled crab that bubbled in the pot.’
    • ‘Though the water bubbled rapidly, the water was always very warm but not boiling hot.’
    • ‘Put the 12 large eggs in a pan of hot water, bring to the boil, simmer for five minutes from the moment the water starts to bubble then drain and run under cold water.’
    • ‘A loud rumbling was building from within the machine, and the water was bubbling wildly.’
    • ‘She stirred a pot of stew that bubbled above the fire.’
    • ‘Mia turned from the window as the soup began to bubble but when she had taken the saucepan off the heat found herself drawn back by something she could not explain.’
    • ‘Eight pots and pans bubbled or simmered, each adding its unique aroma to the air.’
    • ‘The stove was burning hot, and water bubbled in the pans and he picked up more salt.’
    sparkle, fizz, effervesce, gurgle, foam, froth, spume
    boil, simmer, seethe, gurgle
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    1. 1.1Make a bubbling sound.
      ‘close by, a stream bubbled along through reeds and rushes’
      ‘a bubbling fountain’
      • ‘It didn't take much time for her to relax and enjoy the sound of bubbling water and birds chirping.’
      • ‘What Hawkins does best is build a steady pace into each track to make a stream of bubbling sounds and images.’
      • ‘To my surprise she laughed, the sound bubbling forth from her throat in a musical rhapsody.’
      • ‘The entire route is marked with bubbling rivulets and gushing waterfalls.’
      • ‘She guessed that he didn't sit around thinking about daisies and bubbling creeks all day.’
      • ‘The aim of the bubbling fountains is to create water sounds which are meant to be soothing.’
      • ‘The only noise is from the Fontana Amorosa, or fountain of love, bubbling forth nearby.’
      • ‘In the mountains of southern Arizona, a creek bubbles down a wooded canyon, heading to the desert a mile below.’
      • ‘Underwater, the muffled bubbling sound of the frantic struggles of the people about her.’
      • ‘Not far away is Rotorua, a tourist spot famed for its steam, geysers, bubbling mud and foul, sulphurous smells.’
      • ‘When you thought you could drift into beautiful melancholy track after track, sound effects bubble their way through.’
      • ‘The musical sound of the water bubbling over the streambed put his troubled mind at ease.’
      • ‘With a small sigh, she sat down on the edge of a bubbling fountain at the center of the square.’
      • ‘A fountain still bubbled in the center though most of the colorful tiles were missing or broken.’
      • ‘The temples are built next to bubbling springs of hot water that surge from under the ground.’
      • ‘The use of rhythm is usually absent, in favor of floating bass and bubbling sine waves.’
      • ‘But for those willing to look beneath the surface, there are a whole host of diverse sounds bubbling away.’
      • ‘Instead a circle of water forms a large ring, with waterfalls and bubbling rapids, ending in a tranquil pool.’
      • ‘You can luxuriate in the coffee's aroma and listen to the soothing bubbling sound from the bar as another jug of milk is frothed.’
      • ‘Here, during the rainy season, rapid bubbling rivers flow along the bottoms of these chasms.’
      gurgle, murmur, purr, purl, tinkle, whir, drone, rumble, buzz, hum
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    2. 1.2Be filled with an irrepressible positive feeling.
      ‘Ellen was bubbling with enthusiasm’
      • ‘Even before we part, he's getting me maps, inking in West Coast routes, bubbling with excitement about the possibilities.’
      • ‘She was bubbling with energy, except for the few cracks in confidence that surfaced every time an inquiring scribe insisted on reminding her that she was yet to make it big.’
      • ‘They were bubbling with enthusiasm as they learnt new words such as ‘mano sakthi’ and ‘anma sakthi.’’
      • ‘‘It was probably an act of extortion of a criminal nature,’ she says, her voice bubbling with the energy that epitomises her.’
      • ‘Several times a month, even in old age, he worked all night, and some friend such as Bryan Magee would get an early morning call from Popper, bubbling with excitement to report on his latest ideas.’
      • ‘Widely argued to be the capital of the north, Leeds is bubbling with activity, so if you're looking for a quiet break, head for the moors.’
      • ‘The hoteliers, restaurants and bars are more than happy with this development and are bubbling with enthusiasm for the calibre of their new hard-working recruits who actually volunteer for overtime to reach their saving goals.’
      • ‘Well the newspapers, TV reports and radio broadcasts are fairly bubbling with excitement over the upcoming federal election and that's great.’
      • ‘The healthy York contingent crowded around the players' tunnel to cheer the lads off the field, and although one victory does not a season make, the players, staff and fans all left Don Valley bubbling with renewed excitement.’
      • ‘Rice is bubbling with enthusiasm for his latest project.’
      • ‘Davy Conway can contribute a lot more from play while Michael John Tierney often looks too complacent on the ball while bubbling with self-confidence.’
      • ‘A few of the stories first appeared as recently as last year, showing that Spark, even at 83, is still bubbling with ideas full of wit, mischief and invention.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, it's a chucklesome 200-odd pages, bright and breezy and bubbling with imagination and enthusiasm.’
      • ‘Mixing and matching salsa with traditional Scottish music didn't seem such a wild idea at the time as Edinburgh was bubbling with musical cross-fertilisations.’
      • ‘Italo Stars have hit a rich vein of form and will be bubbling with confidence for Saturday's home clash with Goonellabah at 3 pm.’
      • ‘His mind is bubbling with ideas to help improve the West of Ireland.’
      • ‘Her mother bubbled over enthusiastically with tales of her progress.’
      • ‘‘I want to take a post-graduate degree in English and then master IT also,’ the youth says, bubbling with enthusiasm.’
      • ‘Make sure your office staff bubbles with personality and that they always describe the studio in positive terms.’
      • ‘Smiling, bubbling with energy and exuding a quiet confidence, Annie Maria doesn't exactly fit in with one's image of an evangelist.’
      overflow, brim over, be filled, run over, gush
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    3. 1.3(of a feeling) become more intense and approach the point of being expressed.
      ‘the fury bubbling up inside her’
      • ‘I can feel excitement bubbling up to the surface for the first time since I set off and remember how great my last trip to Australia was 4 years ago.’
      • ‘Many more, though, are just pointers to news stories bubbling up beneath the radar of the national political press.’
      • ‘So this is something that's really been bubbling up from the surface.’
      • ‘I hate being so fatalistic, but I can't ignore the fear and tension bubbling up inside my mind right now.’
      • ‘I felt a hallelujah bubbling up in my throat but quickly suppressed it when we were asked to stand and sing along.’
      • ‘The stories that spring to mind while looking at this work are both humorous and unsettling, bubbling up from one's unconscious like twisted fairy tales.’
      • ‘I had to suppress a hysterical giggle bubbling up inside of me.’
      • ‘‘Web services’ is one of those tech buzzwords that bubbles up and takes hold.’
      • ‘I wish I had time to look this one up; I was so tired at the time it barely registered, but it bubbled up to the surface later in the day.’
      • ‘His strange sense of humour still bubbles up to the surface from time to time, although his action sequences truly distinguish his work.’
      • ‘This results in deeply disturbing memories bubbling up from the depths.’
      • ‘Still, it's the cheerful inner spirit that bubbles up from within, that characterises the successful model.’
      • ‘The thought remains imminent - just below perception, and bubbles up in strangely symbolic dreams and eruptions of irrationality in your everyday life like cryptic, confusing posts on a weblog.’
      • ‘Well, this has been sort of bubbling up for the past few years.’
      • ‘This is a great opportunity to see the new talent and the fresh ideas that are bubbling up in the Australian film world.’
      • ‘But still that end-of-summer dread bubbles up within my body's cells.’
      • ‘This common-sense progressive message already is bubbling up from the grassroots to party leaders.’
      • ‘Anyway, whatever keeps bubbling up from my subconscious, rest assured you'll read it here.’
      • ‘‘I don't believe I have the right to be a best-selling author,’ Truss says, the self-doubt bubbling up again.’
      • ‘When you see a topic bubble up in weblogs, I believe that matters because it is an indication of the topic bubbling up across the populace.’


  • burst someone's bubble

    • Shatter someone's illusions about something or destroy their sense of well-being.

      • ‘The bookmakers give Wales little hope of bursting Ireland 's bubble, and history suggests they are right.’
      • ‘The other part of me was worried that Betty might not believe me, or even if she did, might resent me for being the one to burst her bubble and it could ruin the close relationship we now shared.’
      • ‘So people, sorry to burst your bubble but I did not go for the auditions.’
      • ‘But when it comes right to your doorstep and bursts your bubble, well that's a different story.’
      • ‘Hate to burst your bubble, but you're one in 6 billion.’
      • ‘In other words, she did not burst Dicky 's bubble, but poked it a bit with some roundabout but no less cutting insights.’
      • ‘I hate to burst your bubble, but you do know that you will be required to take an interest in current affairs and read something a little more challenging than New Weekly now don't you?’
      • ‘I'm very sorry to burst your bubble, but animals do feel emotions.’
      • ‘Men may like to keep this myth going, but I'm bursting your bubble, boys.’
      • ‘I hate to burst your bubble but a million won't get you very far.’
      shatter, destroy, wreck, ruin, crush, devastate, demolish, wreak havoc with, blast, blight, wipe out, overturn, torpedo, scotch, spoil, frustrate, thwart, baulk, check
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  • on the bubble

    • informal (of a sports player or team) occupying the last qualifying position on a team or for a tournament, and liable to be replaced by another.

      ‘he's never lived up to his high selection, and is on the bubble for a roster spot’
      figurative ‘several of last year's new TV shows are on the bubble’
      • ‘Another player on the bubble, Johnson was a bad year away from one of two fates: the bullpen or the Rule 5 draft.’
      • ‘Mack, who also returned kickoffs, already was on the bubble became the team is looking to create salary-cap room.’
      • ‘Finally, there's the regular-season finale, at Richmond, the make-or-break race for drivers on the bubble.’
      • ‘Wakefield was on the bubble, close to being released.’
      • ‘Players on the bubble still have a chance to secure their future with the team or catch the eyes of other teams.’
      • ‘Some say he's on the bubble but, after tonight, maybe not.’
      • ‘The minor leaguers mostly know where they're headed for the summer, and there are just a few souls on the bubble, waiting for an injury to the front line guy so they can make the major league roster.’
      • ‘Some teams are destined to forever be on the bubble.’
      • ‘For a time, he was really on the bubble concerning whether he would be permitted to remain in school.’
      • ‘Why would Ray Bourque agree to go to the Avalanche, a team on the bubble in the Western Conference playoff race?’


Middle English: partly imitative, partly an alteration of burble.