Definition of bulk in English:

bulk

noun

  • 1[mass noun] The mass or size of something large:

    ‘residents jump up and down on their rubbish to reduce its bulk’
    • ‘The sheer bulk and weightiness of the story and its politics, removes the profundity from the last shot of Inba's forlorn face.’
    • ‘The vehicle drove away and the woman straightened her burgundy dress as she looked up at the two-tone bulk of the Blue Horizon.’
    • ‘My work, on the one hand is greatly reduced: it is drastically relieved of all bulk and physical dimensionality.’
    • ‘The sheer bulk of a large great white shark under water beggars description.’
    • ‘If we rated the documentation strictly on the sheer bulk of the printed manuals, the program's documentation would receive high marks.’
    • ‘One of the biggest problems currently clogging up the congested and lard-filled arteries of the Internet is the sheer bulk of painful images floating around.’
    • ‘Fagan relies on the sheer bulk of evidence to make his case.’
    • ‘Instead, the sheer bulk of hoisting and carrying machinery made being crushed underneath them more of a concern than getting caught in pulleys.’
    • ‘The first time he is confronted with the sheer bulk of the super size meal, Spurlock is genuinely amazed.’
    • ‘Yet, the sheer weight and bulk of detail in this Department report are an indication that things are happening - and have been happening for a considerable time.’
    • ‘To begin with, there's the sheer bulk of material to choose from.’
    • ‘This reduces the weight and bulk when compared to the protective mask currently used by CVC.’
    • ‘Given the sheer bulk of commentaries on Horace from ancient times to the present, the search for new approaches can obscure more than elucidate.’
    • ‘This would reduce its bulk and make transport, to the proper smelters where it could be converted into pure silver, much cheaper.’
    • ‘These moves reduce the apparent bulk of the new building and leave the wisp-like canopy as the scheme's predominant element.’
    • ‘Like the king elephant, Karanth dominated the landscape by his sheer bulk of achievement.’
    • ‘The sheer bulk of it affects the whole Internet, of course, not just individual recipients.’
    • ‘The materials used in transmission and engine have been specially developed to reduce weight and bulk.’
    • ‘As greater mass and bulk are added to provide specific protection, discomfort escalates.’
    • ‘Make the pockets out of lining or lightweight fabrics to reduce bulk.’
    size, volume, dimensions, measurements, proportions, mass, substance, scale, magnitude, immensity, hugeness, vastness, massiveness, bulkiness, largeness, bigness, ampleness, amplitude
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    1. 1.1 Large size or shape:
      ‘he moved quickly in spite of his bulk’
      • ‘Tracking big game in the heat of the southern African bush is a far cry from the cold, grey bulk of Yorkshire's oldest stone fortress.’
      • ‘Similarly, the sombre grey bulk of St Catherine's Church and its plaque may recall the patriot's death to some in the bustling street of stallholders and art students.’
      • ‘The extra bulk has reduced his speed, but so what?’
      • ‘Its relative size and bulk compared to your average mobile phone means you aren't going to slip it in a pocket and forget about it.’
      • ‘Hoss ran through the figure again, his bulk easily balanced on the balls of his feet, his movements light and sure.’
      • ‘At the appropriate moment Dad came around behind me and in a movement surprisingly graceful for his age and bulk, he bent down and netted the fish, tail first.’
      • ‘Michael has been plagued with weight problems since his schooldays and though he tried conventional dieting on many occasions, it failed to reduce his bulk.’
      • ‘Badly in need of linebacker help and some bulk on the defensive line, the Packers drafted speedy linebacker Nick Barnett and defensive tackle Kenny Peterson.’
      • ‘A study in strength when he was playing, Matthews has added bulk to almost every Lion and it has worked.’
      • ‘Hines is exactly what is needed: his sheer bulk makes him difficult to stop and his handling ability ensures that he invariably plays the ball out of contact.’
      • ‘The Sunday papers having reached sufficient size to extend several days either side of their publication date by sheer bulk, I resolved to buy one.’
      • ‘Today the winners of body building competitions sometimes say they achieved their body bulk without drugs.’
      • ‘From an early age he was fat, perhaps seeking in food both the bulk to defend himself and the comfort he could not find at home.’
      • ‘However, in spite of its undoubted bulk, the Grand Voyager is not difficult to drive and equipment levels are high.’
      • ‘Even to us novices watching from a safe distance, the outcome came as no surprise given the sheer bulk and presence of our boy.’
      • ‘In the first place, his presence is considerable, not just his physical bulk but the sheer sense of purpose he brings to any gathering.’
      • ‘The Sierra based Lightning Rods are incredibly quick around Bovingdon, where the cars' sheer bulk and power leads to a tight pack of bumper-to-bumper racing throughout the day.’
      • ‘Another factor is a lack of bulk on the defensive line.’
      • ‘What about Embassy Court Brighton, a building whose horizontal emphasis and overweening bulk wrecks the stuccoed urbanity of the Hove seafront?’
      • ‘Arriving at the dockside, you are reminded of the sheer bulk of the ship.’
    2. 1.2[count noun] A large mass or shape.
      • ‘With all the mountains reigning high over them not much light can shine through the bulks of rock.’
      • ‘Her shoes were off, under the bench I think, if I had correctly interrupted the black bulks on the grass directly beneath her behind.’
      • ‘Its great bulk bent not even the slightest branch, and it flowed quite like water through the forest's web of limbs and leaves.’
      • ‘Then there might have been a unity with the law courts, and an avoidance of the two bulks of the Hilton and the BT Tower side by side. Buildings like us, made permanent.’
      • ‘It is of a design, bulk, mass and scale appropriate for the location and should not have any adverse impact on surrounding occupiers.’
      • ‘The theatre has a similar bulk and presence in the opposite direction, as its south side presents long views across the Rhine harbour.’
      • ‘They too were grey barren bulks, except for the little white houses on a green strip next to the shore.’
      • ‘They were mostly asleep, but a few stood on guard, vast bulks rearing black against the sky, prehistoric and foreboding.’
      • ‘He visited a £32m project to stabilise mines under the town by pumping them full of a mixture of fuel ash and cement which sets to form a solid bulk, similar to breeze blocks.’
    3. 1.3[as modifier] Large in quantity:
      ‘bulk orders of over 100 copies’
      • ‘Or should I have just held out and placed a bulk order online for the P500s?’
      • ‘The charity single went on sale yesterday but unlike in London where there were early morning queues and bulk orders at record stores, shoppers in Swindon were a lot more subdued.’
      • ‘What now seems to be in fashion in Bulgaria is the bulk registration of sensible names to be put on bid afterwards and sold for much higher fees.’
      • ‘The plant provides a wide range of products although its output is dominated by the bulk production of soda ash and smaller quantities of soda bicarbonate.’
      • ‘Avolar capped its official launch with a bulk order for Learjets and Beechjets.’
      • ‘Nurses' dresses typically cost under £10 as part of a bulk order for the NHS.’
      • ‘I'm using a debit card now to order bulk supplies of allergy medicines through my health insurance company.’
      • ‘Special discount is provided for libraries, research institutions and also for bulk orders.’
      • ‘It allows for inexpensive production and bulk transfers of huge quantities of meat, grain, and other agricultural products.’
      • ‘Food outlets and other shops in the town have also noticed an increase in business during the 12th summer festival, and Booths Supermarket has received large bulk orders.’
      • ‘So he hired a manager to run the shop and went out to secure bulk orders from local hotels and hospitals.’
      • ‘The group has reserved a bulk order with the Post Office, planned to enable it to blitz Britain with a huge leafleting campaign over the holidays.’
      • ‘In recent years the company's emphasis has been on exporting bulk quantities of its Muller Thurgau-based White Cloud.’
      • ‘Critics argue the order prevents retailers passing on to customers discounts they receive on bulk orders.’
      • ‘Occasionally, wrongdoings are revealed: last March, it disallowed ‘a large quantity’ of Guardian-Observer bulk sales.’
      • ‘For example, you could request datasheets or a sample batch of components for testing before you commit to a bulk order.’
      • ‘Companies can order bulk quantities of a print after the presale expires.’
      • ‘Their differences are resolved when Bell agrees only to sell his eggs in large bulk orders that Windy could never fulfil.’
      • ‘Anything that can break down the bulk adoption of textbooks by states would certainly help.’
      • ‘We felt it was important to get a new award for Michael, and we just added it to the bulk order for the others.’
    4. 1.4 Roughage in food:
      ‘potatoes supply energy, essential protein, and bulk’
      • ‘Insoluble fiber provides bulk or roughage to your diet, but you don't digest it.’
      • ‘Dietary fiber - also known as roughage or bulk - includes all parts of plant foods that your body can't digest or absorb.’
      • ‘Stevia, on the other hand, is used in such tiny amounts that it doesn't provide any bulk or volume to foods.’
      • ‘By providing the necessary bulk material your body needs, it helps to ensure proper digestive functioning and gives you the full feeling of having had enough to eat.’
      roughage, fibrous material
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5 Cargo in an unpackaged mass such as grain or oil:
      [as modifier] ‘the port is specially designed for the largest dry bulk vessels’
      • ‘Inefficient handling of bagged wheat gave way to bulk handling, and the marketing of wheat became more organised through the formation of the Australian Wheat Board in 1939.’
      • ‘Also explore bulk bins for organic grains, cereals, flour, dried fruit, legumes, rice and granola.’
      • ‘In 1974 there were 9 ships handling bulk cargo, including grain, iron ore, limestone, salt, sand and coal.’
      • ‘Until last year, the port's wharfs were only intended to accommodate bulk cargo which was not transported in containers.’
      • ‘The skull and cross bones may have been replaced by organised gangs looking for bulk cargos; but some old clichés persist.’
      • ‘To boost profits, it switched some carriers from dry bulk cargoes to coal, and raised freight rates for coal along the coastal region.’
      • ‘Under normal circumstances, the shipment would have been carried by the Yarra, which was contracted to move bulk cargo around the Australian coast.’
      • ‘Hazardous cargoes will be identified mainly through existing conventions and codes and will cover bulk and packaged cargoes, liquids, solids and gases.’
      • ‘How do I know that the bulk dried herbs I buy in a store still have all their medicinal benefits?’
      • ‘In addition, there is now a new differential between the wages of drivers in the huge container cranes and those operating cranes used to load and unload bulk cargo.’
      • ‘Revenue from dry bulk cargo operation rose 21 per cent to 166 million yuan.’
      • ‘In other countries, notably the United States, trucks now dominate long-haul transport of all but bulk commodity goods such as coal or wheat.’
      • ‘It has built new, specialised quays for handling cement, timber and scrap metal, and several warehouses for bulk fertilisers and other dry cargoes.’
      • ‘The roundhouse at San Lázaro was vacated, and afterwards used for bulk grain storage.’
      • ‘Georgia is also expanding the dry bulk cargo handling facilities of its Black Sea ports.’
      • ‘The next points of interest are mounds of bulk cargo shrouded in heavy white polythene sheets.’
      • ‘Most freight tends to be large bulk cargo which is moved out of hours, but the major impact has been on tourism and retail.’
      • ‘A Federal Government change to the Tasmanian Wheat Freight Subsidy Scheme looks set to end bulk shipments of grain to that state from July 1.’
      • ‘Other members of the Asian Shipowners' Forum support Wei's bullish view and believe booms in the dry bulk, tanker and container markets will continue for the rest of this year.’
      • ‘Talliun is in fact a group of four harbours, of which Muuga, the youngest, is intended to serve as the main bulk cargo handling centre.’
    6. 1.6Printing The thickness of paper or a book.
      • ‘The instrument used to measure bulk is called a micrometer. Four sheets of paper are measured and the figure divided by four to establish the paper stock's calliper, for example 12 or 15 points.’
      • ‘Standard book papers vary in bulk from about 200 to 900 pages per inch.’
      • ‘Lower bulk reduces opacity. Higher bulk will increase the overall thickness of a book. Therefore, it helps to know a paper's measure in pages per inch (caliper).’
  • 2the bulk ofThe greater part of something:

    ‘the bulk of the traffic had passed’
    • ‘The rented homes sector is where the bulk of Park Lane's growth has come from in the last few years.’
    • ‘The payout was 23% up on what the directors received in 2003, with the five top executives sharing the bulk of the increases.’
    • ‘An efficient metro rail system will not only push the bulk of traffic underground, but also ensure that people use their vehicles sparingly.’
    • ‘In metazoans, the bulk of the cohesin complex is displaced at prophase, but a subset of cohesin complexes is maintained at the centromere and perhaps other sites.’
    • ‘Pre-existing roads and trails are intended to absorb the bulk of tundra vehicle traffic, yet many of the vehicles venture away from these areas.’
    • ‘The Home Office will provide half the funding and the bulk of the remaining half will be met by Kent Police Authority, with district and parish councils supplementing the rest.’
    • ‘They did keep the bulk of their forces outside the city, as they were asked to do.’
    • ‘There is only one way to ensure that base load and the bulk of our electricity comes from a reliable source that does not damage the atmosphere - nuclear power.’
    • ‘Well, it is nearly impossible for the private sector to not to be the cause of a recession, as the private sector represents the bulk of the economy.’
    • ‘Much hope for the future of the town rests on the effectiveness of that new road in taking the bulk of the traffic away from Main Street.’
    • ‘But he had hoped at this stage of the summer to have had the bulk of his business completed and his squad almost at full strength.’
    • ‘Rents and taxes from the offshore sector make up the bulk of the income of the State.’
    • ‘Central Office confirmed last night that he would name the bulk of his front bench team, including the entire Shadow Cabinet, later today.’
    • ‘Articles about the process of storytelling make up the bulk of the central portion of this volume.’
    • ‘The bulk of the book deals with the development of the U.S. Naval pension fund, which is fascinating in part because it seems so unusual to the modern student of pensions.’
    • ‘The latter two played second base for the bulk of their careers, and Yount played about half of his games in the outfield.’
    • ‘After being so quiet in the final third for the bulk of the first half, while Jamie Speare was kept the busier of the two goalkeepers, there was a marked improvement in the Stanley players' body language.’
    • ‘While each of these has a field of application the overwhelming bulk of metal is shaped from the simple cast ingot by a series of deformation processes.’
    • ‘The bulk of the book is spread over chapters seven to 11, which take almost 100 pages to describe medical privacy laws and issues in 51 countries.’
    • ‘He completed the bulk of his work between 1844 and 1883, a period of democratic nationalism, trade unionism and revolution.’
    majority, greater number, greater quantity, larger number, larger part, best part, better part, main part, major part
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verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Treat (a product) so that its quantity appears greater than it is:

    ‘traders were bulking up their flour with chalk’
    • ‘This method of cooking is much more economical than grilling or roasting, since the meat can be cut into smaller pieces and bulked out with liquids and other ingredients, and since boiling or stewing makes even the toughest bits edible.’
    • ‘To bulk it out, serve with walnut bread, a baguette or toasted brioche.’
    • ‘The pasta was bulked out with more cubes of dry white fish, species unclear.’
    • ‘Why Watson bulked out his modest little story to such extravagant length, alas, we shall never know.’
    • ‘Lighter options are available in the form of crunchy salad bowls which can be bulked out with chicken, steak or tuna.’
    • ‘Non-organic foods are bulked out with air, fat and water, so paying extra for organic means you get more quality food for your money.’
    • ‘Still, a large part of the adoration must be nostalgia for past glories on the basis of the dreary recent material which bulked out their set.’
    • ‘Then many of them are sent off to Holland where they go through a process called ‘tumbling’, which involves bulking them up with water and other additives.’
    • ‘I try to bulk it out with mashed potato, but I have to be careful not to put too much in or he will notice and won't eat it.’
    • ‘However, the Food Standards Agency found last year that imported chicken meat is sometimes bulked out with water, increasing the weight by as much as a third.’
    • ‘In the coal-fired kitchen, you'll learn the cunning ways that mothers bulked out mince pies with apple and carrot, and baked Christmas cakes in the shape of Anderson shelters.’
    make bigger, make larger, expand, pad out, fill out, eke out, add to, augment, increase
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    1. 1.1bulk up[no object] Build up flesh and muscle, typically in training for sporting events:
      ‘he took dietary supplements to bulk up as he lifted weights’
      • ‘These are excellent foods for bulking up and adding muscle mass, but they can add some body fat if overconsumed.’
      • ‘Athletes use them as shortcuts to bulk up, build endurance and recover better from training.’
      • ‘Diets are a major culprit, and although it's much less common for someone bulking up to get dehydrated, water is still the easiest, cheapest and most effective single nutrient you can add to any eating plan.’
      • ‘Eggs serve as a good source of protein for bodybuilders interested in bulking up.’
      • ‘Those may be appropriate for hardgainers, powerlifters or trainers who want to bulk up in the offseason and need insulin and calories to do so.’
      • ‘To help Smith bulk up with lean muscle mass while he trained, Ellis developed an aggressive feeding schedule.’
      • ‘There could also be bigger deals as second-tier players look to bulk up and muscle into new markets.’
      • ‘Then clear up the misunderstanding explaining why it is unlikely that most women would bulk up or develop large muscles like some men who train with weights.’
      • ‘Whether bulking up, maintaining weight or trying to shed body fat, consume at least 1 g of protein per pound of bodyweight every day.’
      • ‘He later went on to star at the University of Minnesota where he would take his training to a new level and bulk up to his current proportions.’
  • 2Combine (shares or commodities for sale):

    ‘your shares will be bulked with others and sold at the best prices available’

Phrases

  • bulk large

    • Be or seem to be of great importance:

      ‘territorial questions bulked large in diplomatic relations’
      • ‘The list of famous acquaintances and friends bulks large in the book's index.’
      • ‘In all the annals of arrogance for which this Government and that Secretary of State have become notorious this utter display of contempt for Parliament bulks large.’
      • ‘Such countries may not bulk large in the Nato range-finder (though both have oil) but, without them, generalised conclusions about Christian-Muslim conflict are suspect.’
      • ‘In the light of low production costs these products bulk large in the supplies of a company with approximately €1.3 billion of turnover and 8,500 workers.’
      • ‘If the altar controversy bulked large to Charles, to Laud it was a matter of ‘indifference’.’
      • ‘In this version of the history of the Conservatives, Peel was something of a false start while Disraeli bulks large as a protean figure who enabled later Conservatives to claim that he established some sort of popular Toryism.’
      • ‘The site is architecturally important for buildings of the Archaic and Classical periods, and it bulks large in our corpus of Archaic architectural sculpture, for the most part of imported stone.’
      • ‘To some extent this is unavoidable: slavery and the slave trade bulk large in this work.’
      • ‘Kvashnin was to be accompanied by top Russian defence ministry official General Yevgeny Buzhinsky, the agency said, adding that turbulence in Macedonia would also bulk large on the agenda.’
      • ‘Intellectual attainment does not bulk large among the virtues of his frontier heroes, certainly, and when a professor or other ‘brain merchant’ does appear he is likely to be scorned as a fop.’
      be important, loom large, dominate, preponderate, be prominent, be significant, be influential, be of consequence, be of account, be relevant, mean a lot, count, matter, signify, carry weight
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  • in bulk

    • 1(of goods) in large quantities and generally at a reduced price:

      ‘retail multiples buy in bulk’
      • ‘There are several companies which have bought tickets in bulk to give out as prizes for various contests while others have taken them for their officials.’
      • ‘Bulbs are available everywhere right now, even at the chain stores, but I get mine at a local garden center where I can inspect each bulb, buy in bulk, and mix and match.’
      • ‘Worried police say adults are buying alcohol in bulk and selling it on at a jacked-up price to underage drinkers.’
      • ‘What's more, the biggest buyer is the government, which buys in bulk at a very low price.’
      • ‘But I buy everything I need in bulk, to make sure I don't ever run out’
      • ‘These wines are then on promotion at the store for the month of July, and come with a case price for those wanting to buy in bulk.’
      • ‘Prisons can save money by buying in bulk from producers with surplus goods.’
      • ‘The secret lies in the fact that it buys in bulk from China, whose marble is virtually indistinguishable from that of Italy, and commands fabulous discounts.’
      • ‘They both have the advantage of selling more than one brand and, as they buy in bulk, prices are often lower than list.’
      • ‘Walls have been insulated using old newspapers and there is a gas - fired community heating system, allowing fuel to be bought in bulk at a reduced cost.’
    • 2(of a cargo or commodity) not packaged; loose:

      ‘sugar is imported in bulk and bagged on the island’
      • ‘But as a commodity sold in bulk, soy beans and oil are not worth much.’
      • ‘Until the mid to late 1950's most commodities were delivered in bulk and weighed or measured into smaller quantities for sale.’
      • ‘After rapid estufagem in tank, the wine is aged for about 18 months before being shipped in bulk, often having been coloured and sweetened with caramel.’
      • ‘The cracker barrel was an institution in American general stores and groceries which sold crackers loose in bulk.’
      • ‘The compost created at the Compton Bassett plant will be named Warrior Compost and will be available to the public in bags or in bulk.’
      • ‘Flour used to be purchased in bulk and came packaged in colorful cotton sacks.’
      • ‘Coffee traders and roasters insist that coffee must be shipped in bulk and before roasting, claiming that a bean once roasted does not improve.’
      • ‘We never buy tea in bulk and store it because it tends to lose its flavour.’
      • ‘Soybeans are easier to treat, and a higher percentage of soybeans are sold in bulk, which facilitates treatment.’
      • ‘If you purchase nuts in bulk, keep some in a jar for immediate use and freeze the rest.’

Origin

Middle English: the senses ‘cargo as a whole’ and ‘heap, large quantity’ (the earliest recorded) are probably from Old Norse búlki cargo; other senses arose perhaps by alteration of obsolete bouk ‘belly, body’.

Pronunciation:

bulk

/bʌlk/