Main definitions of boil in English

: boil1boil2



  • 1(with reference to a liquid) reach or cause to reach the temperature at which it bubbles and turns to vapor.

    with object ‘we tried to get people to boil their drinking water’
    no object ‘he waited for the water to boil’
    ‘I'll boil up the stock’
    • ‘The first paddle steamers typically used oil-fired boilers, which provided heat to boil water, which generated steam to power the boat.’
    • ‘Half an hour later, water had been boiled and poured into a large tub next to the fireplace.’
    • ‘In the old days, before cookers, the stones would be thrown into a water-filled pit or vessel, to boil water for cooking or washing.’
    • ‘Water should always be boiled before drinking.’
    • ‘The water should not be used for swimming, drinking, fishing or for stock and boiling the water will not destroy the algae.’
    • ‘Health experts have advised all water should be boiled before drinking until the source of the contamination is traced.’
    • ‘I had to boil up the water in an old kettle with a frayed wire.’
    • ‘When they are cooked, lift them out and boil the liquid until thick and reduced.’
    • ‘I boiled the water, cooked the noodles and then added the cheese sauce.’
    • ‘Now add a cup of double cream and heat without boiling it.’
    • ‘Water was boiled in kettles, saucepans and other containers on the top of the stove, and baking done in the oven.’
    • ‘Remove the chicken and boil the juices furiously for a minute or two.’
    • ‘Evidently there was bigger fish to fry and the fryers could hardly wait to boil their oil.’
    • ‘If too much liquid remains, reduce it a little by boiling it, then pour it over the pears before leaving them to cool.’
    • ‘That night, we camped out near a pond so we could boil water for food.’
    • ‘The fist thing they do every day is to boil water and cook rice after they wake up early in the morning.’
    • ‘Avoid boiling the cream and add the parmesan gradually, otherwise the sauce will curdle.’
    • ‘The little hotplate was an added bonus, keeping the coffee good and hot without ever boiling it.’
    • ‘Contaminated water must be boiled in rural areas.’
    • ‘At homes, he says water should be boiled until it begins to roll in the vessel.’
    simmer, bubble, seethe, heat, cook, stew
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (with reference to a kettle, pan, or other container) heat or be heated until the liquid inside starts to boil.
      with object ‘she boiled the kettle and took down a couple of mugs’
      no object ‘the kettle boiled and he filled the teapot’
      • ‘Meanwhile, boil up another pan of water and add a pinch of salt.’
      • ‘This means having to boil up saucepans of water to have a bath.’
      • ‘She boiled the kettle again and made a cup of tea with slightly sour milk.’
      • ‘She came to the rescue by boiling up seven kettles of water on her range and arranged for them to be delivered to the school.’
      • ‘When the kettle had been boiled and the tea had been made we all went up to Terri's bedroom.’
      • ‘Martine didn't own a kettle so a pan of water had to be boiled, I knew that if Helene needed a cup of coffee it was best to let her get on with it.’
      • ‘Now add boiling water until the potatoes are covered (if you've forgotten to boil the kettle, cold water works too, but it just takes ages to heat up).’
      simmer, bubble, seethe, heat, cook, stew
      View synonyms
  • 2(with reference to food) cook or be cooked by immersing in boiling water or stock.

    with object ‘boil the potatoes until well done’
    ‘two boiled eggs’
    no object ‘make the sauce while the lobsters are boiling’
    • ‘British travellers can fall victim to the disease if they do not boil food and water before consumption.’
    • ‘Reduce the heat to low and boil the beans for 1 hour or until they burst.’
    • ‘Instead, they found it was healthier to boil food in water or a light stock.’
    • ‘You prepare black beans very much the same way you would other dried peas, but you've got to soak them for a couple of hours before boiling them.’
    • ‘He would cook us a batch of his prawns, boiling them in fresh water from a nearby stream.’
    • ‘It is the only bread product that is boiled before it is baked.’
    • ‘Chicken and bamboo shoots had been boiled together with green curry, tasting spicy but not fiery.’
    • ‘Banana cake is superb, and this one here is unusual in that you boil the bananas first.’
    • ‘Fish is boiled or grilled over open fires and eaten by hand.’
    • ‘Steaming or boiling takes around the same time, and boiled broccoli should be carefully drained to avoid sogginess.’
    • ‘Pots full of boiled fish and baskets hang from a string where cats could not reach, to be served with rice for the next meal.’
    • ‘But it wasn't until nearly 300 years later that Arab traders began to boil or roast these precious beans.’
    • ‘Potatoes are served boiled, sautéed, deep-fried, or roasted, and are used in various dishes.’
    • ‘Even so, they brought out some corn and some boiled bananas to share with us.’
    • ‘A tiny old monk, who seemed to have been waiting outside the door, bowed into the room with an enormous bowl of boiled eggs and a jar of wine.’
    • ‘Do you think there's a whole ward somewhere in the bowels of the building where they spend long hours doing nothing but boiling cabbage?’
    • ‘In addition, wherever eggs have been boiled for the recipes above, then they need to be peeled before moving on to the next stage of the recipe.’
    • ‘I lowered my eyes, got up from the table, and ran water into the saucepan to boil our morning eggs.’
    • ‘The stones heat the water and the meat is boiled.’
    • ‘That evening I filled out my menu card for the next day, requesting just boiled vegetables for lunch.’
    bring to the boil, simmer, heat
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with object Wash or sterilize in very hot water.
      • ‘Vaccine transfer needles should be boiled in water and allowed to cool before using.’
      • ‘In one clinic, all instruments, including those used for surgical operations, were simply boiled in water.’
      • ‘Initially, these gloves were sterilized by boiling and then put on the wearer's wet hands.’
      • ‘You can also sterilise equipment by boiling it in water for at least 10 minutes.’
      • ‘The linen was boiled, scrubbed, rinsed and given a final soak in Robin Blue to drag out the last erg of whiteness before starching.’
      • ‘The first surgical gloves were boiled to achieve sterilization.’
      • ‘The white washing was boiled in the copper with the fire lit underneath.’
      • ‘Beryl rounded up all our jumpers and various moth-eaten Fair Isle handknits belonging to Reginald, and boiled them in her washing machine.’
      • ‘If you are not satisfied that this washing powder boils your clothes whiter than any other washing product return the unused portion of the first packet you buy to us and we will send you double its purchase price.’
    2. 2.2historical with object Execute (someone) by subjecting them to the heat of boiling liquid.
      • ‘I am going to boil him in hot oil!’
      • ‘The country has been accused of a series of grisly human rights abuses, including torture, murder and boiling detainees alive.’
      • ‘He is a brutal dictator who boils his political foes alive.’
      • ‘It is often associated with the act of boiling people as a means of torture.’
      • ‘She was boiled alive in a cauldron of boiling water.’
  • 3no object (of the sea or clouds) be turbulent and stormy.

    ‘a huge cliff with the black sea boiling below’
    • ‘Just before the whales break the surface, the sea boils vigorously and a perfect circle of clear water opens up above them.’
    • ‘Picture a spot where, at the change of tides, the sea boils through a narrow pass, providing experienced divers with a glorious ride past sharks and other marine life.’
    • ‘Were the carvers stopped by the great waves boiling out of the sea?’
    • ‘But something was stirring in the clouds that obscured the fine blue of the sky, making them boil and seethe.’
    • ‘He nodded up at the dark clouds that were boiling out of the sky overhead.’
    • ‘The sea boiled and on every side ships were stripped of their superstructure by the wave that hit the shoreline a split-second later.’
    • ‘On the surface, the water is boiling like a washing machine.’
    • ‘Outside, the wind was blowing and dark storm clouds were boiling.’
    • ‘The sea boils where rocks and ledges running across the sound cause sharp changes in depth.’
    • ‘Her blond hair was being whipped by the wind, behind her black clouds boiled and lightning flashed, or so it seemed to George and the woman.’
    • ‘I remembered standing on the very tip of its bow, looking down at the surface water boiling around it.’
    • ‘Seas will boil, the earth will tremble, man will be sent scurrying back to the caves.’
    • ‘Clouds boiled in the sky overhead, blocking out the sun and heralding a storm.’
    • ‘He had never seen anything like it, this barrier of blue and white that boiled and roared and foamed before him, like a thing alive.’
    • ‘I stood on the front porch watching horizontal sheets of rain sweep up the driveway as the clouds boiled menacingly overhead.’
    • ‘Black skies boiled and seethed above, clouds dark as pitch surging in an ominous spiral.’
    • ‘The sea was boiling, it seemed, over an area no bigger than a mini-roundabout.’
    • ‘As you'll also know, the quake was bad, but the sea didn't boil like last time.’
    • ‘Down river the water boiled amongst the smooth white rocks.’
    • ‘It should be dark and overcast, lightning and thunder boiling across the sky, like his insides were doing at that moment.’
    be turbulent, be agitated, froth, foam, churn, seethe, bubble, fizz, effervesce
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 (of a person or strong emotion) be stirred up or inflamed.
      ‘he was boiling with rage’
      • ‘There was no response and worry started to boil up inside her.’
      • ‘I was still boiling with jealousy, but I knew I shouldn't have said what I'd said to Adrian.’
      • ‘She felt a rage boiling up inside her and she clenched her fists.’
      • ‘I am starting to boil up with anger, and so I try with all my might to get free of the ropes.’
      • ‘She could feel her anger boiling up, but she fought it every step of the way.’
      • ‘I was boiling with anger and shouted that his behaviour was way out of line.’
      • ‘The emotion boiled and died in an instant like milk in a pan.’
      • ‘Her eyes tore away, agitation suddenly boiling up in her facial expression.’
      • ‘I watched the pale brown stain seeping into the wallpaper, and I began to boil.’
      • ‘I responded evenly, despite the fact that I was beginning to boil with anger at the thought.’
      • ‘As my husband continued his confession to me, I felt a volcano of emotions beginning to boil up.’
      • ‘There are times when the interaction that we have with patients can really make us bite our tongues and count to a hundred while we boil up inside.’
      • ‘He stuck at it with a grim determination, though inside he was boiling with frustration.’
      • ‘The rage was boiling up so quickly that I was afraid I'd throw this man out of the kitchen window.’
      • ‘Frustration is boiling up, and she is responsible for it and so she is passing the blame.’
      • ‘He felt all of his anger of the past weeks boil up.’
      • ‘A tinge of anger began to boil, but she diverted her gaze away from the soldiers to calm herself.’
      • ‘Lia could feel the anger begin to boil within her chest.’
      • ‘He begins to boil, his anger lashing out more than ever before.’
      • ‘My brain was beginning to boil as I panicked, glancing around and finding no place to run.’
      be angry, be furious, be indignant, rage, fume, seethe, smoulder
      View synonyms


  • 1in singular The temperature at which a liquid bubbles and turns to vapor.

    ‘stir in cream and bring to a boil’
    • ‘Put the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan, cover them with water and bring to a boil.’
    • ‘Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the pineapple is tender.’
    • ‘Stir in the cumin, ginger, and coconut milk and bring to a boil.’
    • ‘Bring slowly to the boil, skimming off the froth that rises to the surface.’
    • ‘Put the white wine vinegar, all the spices and 150 ml of cold water in a pan, bring to the boil then pour over the fish.’
    • ‘Bring to a boil, and stir all the time until it's thickened.’
    • ‘Bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer half-covered for 20-25 minutes.’
    • ‘Cover with the lid and lower the heat setting to maintain a gentle boil.’
    • ‘Add the tomatoes, wine and thyme and bring to the boil, turn to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.’
    • ‘Add the stock and bring to a boil.’
    • ‘Combine the milk, butter and vanilla in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil.’
    • ‘Once the porridge has returned to the boil, it should be allowed to cook slowly for 20-30 minutes.’
    • ‘Then bring the fish stock to the boil in a pan and keep at a low simmer.’
    • ‘Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, and simmer for fifteen minutes.’
    • ‘Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes or until the veggies are tender and the sauce thickened.’
    • ‘Add the lentils, broth, tomatoes and tomato paste to the pot and bring to a boil.’
    • ‘Heat the milk and water together with the garlic clove and the bay leaf, then bring to the boil and add the fish.’
    • ‘Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for three hours.’
    • ‘In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the reserved cooking liquid to a boil.’
    • ‘Bring to a boil and slowly whisk in the cornstarch, a little at a time.’
    • ‘In a medium saucepan, bring two inches of water to a boil and remove from the heat.’
    • ‘The water came to a boil and Rowena poured some over her teabag.’
    • ‘To peel your own almonds, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.’
    boiling point, 100 degrees celsius, 100 degrees centigrade
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An act or process of heating a liquid to the temperature at which it bubbles and turns to vapor.
      • ‘I went to read my book and timed the egg for a five minute boil.’
      • ‘The kettle is permanently on the boil.’
      • ‘In Norman's house the kettle was on the boil and a strange reception committee awaited us.’
      • ‘Or what of the porridge left on the boil too long or the cat's fur balls?’
      • ‘They kept the kettle on the boil all day.’
      • ‘You will have those pots on the boil in no time at all.’
      • ‘The kettle would soon be on the boil and the cup of tea ready within minutes.’
      • ‘In order for each batch of beer to taste the same, exactly the same amount of the same type of hops must be added at exactly the same time during each boil.’
      • ‘The second, hotter, hob was opened and pasta was put on the boil.’
      • ‘There was a warm and hearty welcome for all visitors to the Timothy family home and Mrs. Timothy always ensured that the kettle was on the boil.’
      • ‘She sounds like an old electric kettle on the boil.’
      • ‘Once again the kettle will be on the boil and the ladies committee will look after the guests.’
      • ‘The elderly widower keeps the food on the boil all afternoon long, stirring it now and then.’
      • ‘She loved people to call, and the welcome was always there, because the kettle was always on the boil, and her face would light up when she would come to the door.’
      • ‘The charity hopes to have every kettle in the county on the boil this May for their annual fundraising Tea Day.’
      • ‘She was a very welcoming person and always had the kettle on the boil.’
    2. 1.2 A state of vigorous activity or excitement.
      • ‘Since then the issue has gone off the boil.’
      • ‘It seems that I've gone off the boil, which makes me less hot-headed.’
      • ‘This title does seem to have gone off the boil in the last few months.’
      • ‘He knows which of the youngsters is in form, and which has gone off the boil.’
      • ‘The economy has gone off the boil.’
      • ‘However things have now gone off the boil again.’
      • ‘This game's gone off the boil a bit since the sending off.’
      • ‘In the last couple of races the team seems to have just gone off the boil a bit.’
      • ‘The issue has gone off the boil in recent times.’
      • ‘Things have gone off the boil a bit recently.’
      • ‘Even if their records have gone off the boil, the band has its reputation as one of Britain's most exciting live experiences to protect.’
      • ‘The Australian has gone off the boil in recent months but once back to form, is sure to be making his presence felt again.’
      • ‘But things had gone off the boil at Burnden and Alan Ball's Exeter made an already subdued crowd of 5,631 even quieter.’
      • ‘It has gone off the boil this year, but Dampier still backs it for consistent returns.’
      • ‘They are desperate for the victory having gone off the boil in recent weeks.’
      • ‘If you thought maybe he had gone off the boil a bit, then it's time you redressed that assumption.’
      • ‘He has gone off the boil lately.’
      • ‘They have gone off the boil in recent weeks picking up just five points in their last six games.’
      • ‘They have gone off the boil in recent weeks.’
      • ‘In fact it was the top agenda item about ten years ago, I guess, and it's gone off the boil a bit recently.’
    3. 1.3 An area of churning water.
      ‘massive current differentials, boils, and braided channels’
      • ‘A huge, gleaming slab surged and turned amid a boil of whitewater.’
      • ‘Just before my sighting I notice an odd boil or swirl of water to my left.’
      • ‘Sliding as close as we can past one boat hidden under spray I see a huge boil some 50 feet away from us, a distinct impression of black sliding into silver.’
      • ‘Topwater dogwalkers and slush-type plugs can draw horrific boils and blasts, but you tend to miss trout on them.’
      • ‘The entrance to Nose Breaker consisted of a keeper hole at the top going through a very tight S turn with huge boils going off of the falls.’
    4. 1.4Fishing A sudden rise of a fish at a fly.
      • ‘A quick yank at the first bump or boil of a following salmon usually pulls the fly away and puts the fish down.’
      • ‘No one has seen the bite, and there is no boil or splash to mark the event, just 130 lb Moimoi stretching out straight down the wake, a reel screaming.’
      • ‘A boil or two on the surface, and the fish, a stunningly beautiful creature of around 7 lbs. was scooped into the net.’
      • ‘Two quick twelve inch pulls then a huge head appeared quickly engulfing the frog, this was followed by a big boil and swirl.’
      • ‘When the big fish took there was a bow wave and a big boil, and all three of us rushed for the rod.’
  • 2US An outdoor meal at which seafood is boiled.

    ‘everything for a traditional Louisiana seafood boil can be carried down to the beach’
    • ‘In other parts of the country, it might be a fish fry or a crab or oyster boil.’
    • ‘Nothing is easier than a seafood boil to bring people together.’
    • ‘Some locals did a crab boil last night in the parking lot, I got a dozen new mosquito bites, but it was worth it!’
    • ‘It features a crab and shrimp boil on Fridays.’
    • ‘I went to a lobster boil once in Maine where they had lobsters, clams and corn.’
    1. 2.1 A blend of seasonings added to water to enhance the flavor of boiled seafood.
      • ‘This crab boil mix can be used for shrimp, crawfish, lobster or crab.’
      • ‘Heat to a simmer, then add seafood boil mix’
      • ‘Add bouquet garni, crab boil, lemons and garlic.’
      • ‘Popular along the southeast coast of the United States and especially in Louisiana, shrimp or crab boil spice mix is used, not surprisingly, for boiling shrimp and crabs.’


  • keep the pot boiling

    • Maintain the momentum or interest value of something.

      • ‘What the radicals can do is keep the pot boiling indefinitely, and that suits them just fine.’
      • ‘The onus is on the Action Group to keep the pot boiling on the issue and ensure that there is a ministerial response to their proposal.’
      • ‘They have genuine promotion ambitions if they can keep the pot boiling.’
      • ‘There are enough questions to keep the pot boiling well into May.’
      • ‘The chance to keep the pot boiling after a good win is an obvious temptation, but their fly-half will benefit from a week's recovery time after coming off with a thigh strain.’
      • ‘We will keep the pot boiling on this until David is released because this is a question of basic democratic rights.’
      • ‘However, because of the engine's unusual power and torque characteristics, you really have to work at the gear lever to keep the pot boiling.’
      • ‘Graham did all he could on the spot and then repaired home, keeping the pot boiling with a daily fax and phone call.’
      • ‘They did everything they could to keep the pot boiling.’
      • ‘He kept the pot boiling with a try and three goals.’
  • make one's blood boil

Phrasal Verbs

  • boil down to

    • Be in essence a matter of.

      ‘everything boiled down to cash in the end’
      • ‘That wasn't the actual topic, but that's what it boiled down to.’
      • ‘I find it laughable now that at 25 I was having what essentially boiled down to a mid-life crisis.’
      • ‘I guess it all boils down to a matter of confidence in the long term future of space research.’
      • ‘These problems essentially boil down to one: the crisis of political perspective.’
      • ‘As in any legal-ethical debate, the question boils down to a matter of someone's rights.’
      • ‘It boils down to one simple fact: this society rewards effort rather than results.’
      • ‘They're a good, all-round side and I don't see a big difference between us, so it may boil down to who is the better prepared.’
      • ‘In essence, this boils down to whether modern industrial capitalism is compatible with a healthy planet.’
      • ‘Its core issues seem to boil down to two - having adequate finance and ensuring skilled management.’
      • ‘I guess my feelings on the matter boil down to two points.’
      come down to, amount to, be in essence, comprise, add up to
      View synonyms
  • boil something down

    • Reduce the volume of a liquid by boiling.

      ‘they boil down the syrup until it is very thick’
      • ‘Skim the fat from pan juices, and reduce the drippings by boiling them down to a delicious sauce.’
      • ‘Dissolve the sugar in a little water over a high heat and boil the resulting syrup down to the softball stage.’
      • ‘Meanwhile the cooking liquor would be boiled down to make a thickened gravy.’
      • ‘After the tomatoes are boiled down, simmer at lowest heat setting for 90 minutes to two hours.’
      • ‘The company, like other ‘renderers,’ takes what is left of the cow after it is slaughtered and boils it down into tallow, used for candles, lubricants and soaps, and bone meal used in fertilizer and animal feed.’’
      • ‘If the liquid is too thin for a gravy, just put it in a pan on the stovetop and boil it down to reduce to a nice consistency.’
      • ‘The amount of red wine the recipe called for seemed rather too small to me, so I used more wine - about three times as much - by boiling it down to the same volume as indicated in the recipe.’
      • ‘When we decided to become a bit more professional about sugarmaking, we began by looking for a small stainless steel pan, or ‘evaporator,’ which holds the sap while it is boiled down to syrup.’
      • ‘By the time the chicken was done, the accompanying vegetables had been boiled down into a soggy mush.’
      • ‘After the oil is boiled down, it is sealed into casks, and put into storage.’
      condense, concentrate, reduce, distil, thicken, compress
      View synonyms
  • boil over

    • 1(of a liquid) flow over the sides of the container in boiling.

      • ‘This means something that can take a lot of heat, go into the microwave, and still have high sides so the whole thing doesn't boil over.’
      • ‘Put the lid on for this but leave a little gap because, with the presence of the milk, it could boil over.’
      • ‘One day someone forgot to turn off the steam - the thick porridge-like liquid soap boiled over and oozed over the factory floor before anyone realised.’
      • ‘What I won't do again is the coconut rice, which boiled over on the hob.’
      • ‘All the bulk of the liquid will eventually reach boiling point and the soup will boil and boil over.’
      • ‘One has to let the milk boil over, to signify plenty, a successful harvest.’
      • ‘Homogenized milk froths and boils over, and also curdles more readily.’
      • ‘As I head back in I hear the unmistakable sound of the milk boiling over.’
      • ‘The liquid boiled over, and the tank was at once enveloped in flames.’
      • ‘Do not allow mixture to boil or to boil over the side of the pan.’
      1. 1.1(of a situation or strong emotion) become so excited or tense as to get out of control.
        ‘one woman's anger boiled over’
        • ‘It was too much for her to take and her anger boiled over.’
        • ‘Well, tempers boiled over on Saturday, as the city erupted in riots.’
        • ‘Emotions boiled over inside me, and I burst out crying.’
        • ‘This frustration and anger boiled over that year, one famous for strikes.’
        • ‘That anger may boil over sooner than is thought.’
        • ‘Four players from each side were booked in a match which threatened to boil over on more than one occasion.’
        • ‘At this point the two teams intense rivalry boiled over.’
        • ‘The game then exploded as tempers boiled over.’
        • ‘I've always had a stubborn streak, but I've never let my emotions boil over like that before.’
        • ‘At times, this game reached boiling point but thankfully never boiled over and at the end of the sixty or so minutes, a draw was the fairest result.’


Middle English: from Old French boillir, from Latin bullire ‘to bubble’, from bulla ‘bubble’.




Main definitions of boil in English

: boil1boil2



  • An inflamed pus-filled swelling on the skin, caused typically by the infection of a hair follicle.

    • ‘You can use them to treat sores, bruises, cuts, boils and inflammatory skin conditions.’
    • ‘His body had been covered with painful, egg-sized boils, a condition for which local doctors could find no diagnosis.’
    • ‘The Los Angeles Times reported January 27 that the skin infections, which appear as ugly boils, started turning up last fall.’
    • ‘Call your doctor if a boil or carbuncle is extremely painful, lasts longer than two weeks or occurs with a fever.’
    • ‘While leaf paste is used externally against boils and carbuncles, the extract is considered a good remedy for recurring earache.’
    • ‘The recurrence of boils, pustules and other such ailments in the stories echoes Beckett's own frequent affliction with skin disorders.’
    • ‘The ripe fruit was used to provide external relief from carbuncles and painful boils and used internally to treat stomach ulcers.’
    • ‘Any rash that looks bright red, has crusted areas, sores or boils should be seen by your doctor.’
    • ‘Many died of boils, abscesses and pustules which erupted on the legs and in the armpits.’
    • ‘A boil should be treated by applying a warm-water compress to the affected area for 20 minutes, three times a day, until it bursts.’
    • ‘It is useful for boils and skin ulcerations, like bedsores and canker sores.’
    • ‘Do not be tempted to squeeze boils as this can spread the infection.’
    • ‘In the story, Job hangs on true, and God gives him his wives and children and fixes all his boils and carbuncles.’
    • ‘Symptoms of diabetes include having to get up at night to go to the toilet, feeling thirsty, lacking energy and getting reoccurring infections such as boils and abscesses.’
    • ‘Lemon oil taken internally or sniffed, is good for diabetes, asthma, boils and varicose veins.’
    • ‘They also suffered from boils and abscesses as a result of a lack of fresh food, diarrhoea, mosquito attacks and constant loss of sleep.’
    • ‘Early civilizations used various heat applications to promote drainage and healing of boils, as well as to limit the spread of infection and for analgesic purposes.’
    • ‘A boil is an abscess occurring in the skin, and is associated with hair follicles.’
    • ‘These infections may be mild such as pimples or boils or serious, for example infection of the bloodstream, bones or joints.’
    • ‘Sure, her clothes were completely burned away, and her skin had some small boils on it, but that was all.’
    swelling, spot, pimple, blister, pustule, eruption, blemish, carbuncle, wen, cyst, abscess, tumour, ulcer, chilblain, gumboil
    View synonyms


Old English bȳle, bȳl, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch buil and German Beule.