Definition of bubble in US English:



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

    • ‘And don't forget to show your toddlers how to float on their backs and blow bubbles.’
    • ‘It was made up of spheres, looking like bubbles on the ocean surface.’
    • ‘Blowing bubbles is a favourite pastime of many children, but not one normally associated with school.’
    • ‘Her wet-sleeved urchin takes advantage of the soapy water to blow 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.’
    • ‘Blowing bubbles was always a favorite pastime during the summertime.’
    • ‘The 33-year-old invested £50 in a machine to blow bubbles at shoppers as they passed by.’
    • ‘I learned how to hold my breath underwater, blow bubbles out my nose, and kick.’
    • ‘She had created this illusion with her faith, as one makes bubbles, blowing on soap water.’
    • ‘Today Corey had a bright red bottle of soapy water, and was blowing bubbles whenever the teacher turned his back.’
    • ‘Children can enjoy using twisted wire coat hangers to blow bubbles.’
    • ‘Sasha watched as Annie and Patrick blew bubbles by dipping a wand into soapy water.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Then I was blowing bubbles like the rest of them.’
    • ‘My fish has blown some bubbles in his tank, so he must be happy lately for some reason.’
    • ‘They left the church in a shower of bubbles, blown by all the guests.’
    • ‘Place splotches of color as desired onto page, then blow bubbles through a bubble wand onto the page.’
    • ‘I watched my daughter and her friend, captivated by a circle of people blowing bubbles.’
    • ‘All of a sudden bubbles were flying everywhere as James jumped out, grabbed a towel and wrapped it hastily around his waist.’
    • ‘Holding her breath, she dove into the water and blew bubbles.’
    globe, ball, orb, spheroid, globule, round
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An air- or gas-filled spherical cavity in a liquid or a solidified liquid such as glass or amber.
      • ‘Plasma is a lightweight surface carefully coated with millions of tiny glass bubbles.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's such a simple idea: chocolate with air bubbles in it.’
      • ‘One that caught my eye seemed to be a mass of bubbles in blown glass.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Drawn beads are produced from a bubble of molten glass that is drawn into a long hollow tube.’
      • ‘A proper, complete filling of the cell with liquid ensured the absence of the air bubbles while the cell was stirred.’
      • ‘A beaker of soda glass with air bubbles and figures on either side of the coat-of-arms, and dated 1624’
      • ‘A popular form in the 1760s was the result of twisting opaque white or coloured glass into the stem, instead of air bubbles.’
      • ‘Bits of it glowed with a strange, orange light, trapped within tall bubbles of glass.’
      • ‘To his intense distraction the delicate bubbles rise over the glass's rim and flow onto the table.’
      • ‘Drink from a tulip shaped glass to keep the bubbles in longer.’
      • ‘Stirring the mortar sample for 30 seconds releases entrained air bubbles into a viscous liquid at the base of a column of water.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The water swirled around the glass, catching little bubbles of air and refusing to allow them to escape.’
      • ‘Spectra acquired from liquid samples that are inhomogeneous or that contain air bubbles can yield erroneous concentration values.’
      globule, bead, blister, drop
      View synonyms
  • 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.’
    • ‘I live in my own little bubble, completely obsessed with my own world and nothing else.’
    • ‘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".’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Granted, RMS lives in his own little bubble half the time’
    • ‘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".’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘"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.’
    illusion, delusion, fantasy, dream, pipe dream, daydream, chimera, vanity, castle in the air
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Used 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’
      • ‘Our shrewdest move was not overreacting to the bubble or to the bust.’
      • ‘What we had in the 1990s was a classic bubble.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then, the bubble burst and thousands of investors were ruined.’
      • ‘In almost every case, within a year after the bubble burst, people were eager to buy again.’
      • ‘After the Internet bubble burst, people stopped thinking about the transforming powers of technology.’
      • ‘When the dot-com bubble burst, much of the country's venture capital seemed to go with it.’
      • ‘When we have a boom-and-bust cycle like the Internet bubble, failures are almost inevitable.’
      • ‘A rise in rates could help to avoid another dangerous bubble by warning investors and homebuyers that asset prices cannot rise for ever.’
      • ‘Market bubble or no, there are good reasons - and smart ways - to invest in real estate.’
      • ‘There has even been talk that housing could experience a crash reminiscent of the tech bubble.’
      • ‘He argues that financial bubbles can lead to economic instability, with hard-to-control deflationary consequences.’
      • ‘The root cause of this recession was the bursting of one of the biggest financial bubbles in history.’
      • ‘Ever since the bubble burst about three years ago, anyone with a job probably felt lucky to have work at all.’
      • ‘Well, even after the bubble burst, housing prices continued to rise.’
      • ‘Some think we may now have a potentially dangerous housing bubble that could pop.’
      • ‘But, they got too caught up in the dotcom hype, and when the bubble burst they refused to admit that things had changed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘During the Internet bubble we hired anyone who knew certain IT buzzwords.’
      • ‘Low interest rates have helped generate a housing bubble that has lifted real estate prices to ludicrous heights in major parts of the country.’
      • ‘The tech bubble was one of the great manias of all time.’
      • ‘The family-owned auction firm has built its success on the excesses associated with economic fads and stock-market bubbles.’
      • ‘And there is less sympathy for well-educated IT workers, many of whom benefited from a dramatic run-up in salaries during the bubble.’
  • 3A transparent domed cover or enclosure.

    ‘piglets born into a sterile bubble’
    • ‘The airport terminal, he also noticed was covered in a large bubble.’
    • ‘What we need to do is to enclose the entire ground in a gigantic transparent plastic 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.’
    • ‘Amy is currently in an isolation bubble to protect her from infection.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘Will we one day have to undergo scores of vaccinations in order to feel safe, or live in sterile bubbles?’
    • ‘To let in light, they punctured 23 holes in the roof, at least one for every room, and covered them with Plexiglas bubbles.’
    1. 3.1 A place or position that is protected from danger or unpleasant reality.
      ‘they are not on tour packages seeing foreign ports from a bubble’
      • ‘Earlier this month, a cover story depicted him as living inside a bubble, isolated from knowledge of the real world.’
      • ‘Still, Ryan is unsure how this approach will translate to his life outside the politically charged, academic bubble of Smith College.’
      • ‘O'Neill, however, does not live in a bubble of isolation.’
      • ‘How can distances to objects be surveyed beyond our neighborhood bubble?’
      • ‘Sporting an infuriating lack of any understanding of anything outside the sterile bubble of the limited experiences of their pampered little lives.’
      • ‘All in all, it has remained an isolated bubble - abstract, experimental, and virtual.’
      • ‘In the sporting world at least, the United States remains firmly confined within an isolationist bubble.’
      • ‘Too easy to go about your business in your car and stay in your little protected bubble and not see what's around you.’
      • ‘Isolationists live in bubbles and are not aware that they will burst.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Still, ideology scores high marks for the true believers who isolate themselves in a bubble of unreality.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When we're isolated inside our American bubble, our problem seems as if it's only our problem.’
      • ‘At a formal level, experimentation started in a bubble of isolation, but decidedly against the tropes of the zhuanti pian.’
      • ‘The isolation bubble in which national politicians are forced to live has been plain enough to see for the last quarter of a century.’
      • ‘It was getting harder for the little man to maintain his bubble of safety but he fought on.’
      • ‘The residents' bubble of isolation has always been a blessing and a curse.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 4A marine mollusk that typically has a thin scroll-like shell.

    Bullidae and other families, order Cephalaspidea, class Gastropoda

    • ‘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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘This little bubble was sorted out of shell grit collected from 10 meters of water. Anakena Beach, Easter Island. March, 1998.’


[no object]
  • 1(of a liquid) contain bubbles of air or gas rising to the surface.

    ‘a pot of soup bubbled away on the stove’
    • ‘Eight pots and pans bubbled or simmered, each adding its unique aroma to the air.’
    • ‘She saw the boats pulling away from the docks and the water foamed and bubbled beneath them.’
    • ‘He clapped his hands in delight as twin ribbons of sparkling water bubbled out, splashing against the bottom of the tub.’
    • ‘After the pine tar has bubbled, gently re-heat the base and wipe off the excess pine tar with a clean cloth or fiberlene.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Once the ingredients are blended and the liquid is starting to bubble, add the potatoes, making sure they are all coated with the cream.’
    • ‘He looked inside, and the dark brown liquid bubbled slightly, sizzling.’
    • ‘You just place your hand below and water will bubble out.’
    • ‘Though the water bubbled rapidly, the water was always very warm but not boiling hot.’
    • ‘A loud rumbling was building from within the machine, and the water was bubbling wildly.’
    • ‘A coffee percolating machine was bubbling in the corner, making the room smell welcoming.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Meanwhile Andrew lived simply on a diet of mussels and whelks and the occasional boiled crab that bubbled in the pot.’
    • ‘Geoffrey nodded sympathetically as the water bubbled towards the top of the drum.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When you suck through the tube, the water bubbles and filters the smoke to make it cool and smooth.’
    • ‘The sweet-smelling spaghetti sauce bubbled in the pot, as I put a cover on it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The stove was burning hot, and water bubbled in the pans and he picked up more salt.’
    • ‘She stirred a pot of stew that bubbled above the fire.’
    sparkle, fizz, effervesce, gurgle, foam, froth, spume
    boil, simmer, seethe, gurgle
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Make a bubbling sound.
      ‘close by, a stream bubbled along through reeds and rushes’
      • ‘But for those willing to look beneath the surface, there are a whole host of diverse sounds bubbling away.’
      • ‘She guessed that he didn't sit around thinking about daisies and bubbling creeks all day.’
      • ‘Underwater, the muffled bubbling sound of the frantic struggles of the people about her.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the mountains of southern Arizona, a creek bubbles down a wooded canyon, heading to the desert a mile below.’
      • ‘The entire route is marked with bubbling rivulets and gushing waterfalls.’
      • ‘With a small sigh, she sat down on the edge of a bubbling fountain at the center of the square.’
      • ‘To my surprise she laughed, the sound bubbling forth from her throat in a musical rhapsody.’
      • ‘The musical sound of the water bubbling over the streambed put his troubled mind at ease.’
      • ‘A fountain still bubbled in the center though most of the colorful tiles were missing or broken.’
      • ‘When you thought you could drift into beautiful melancholy track after track, sound effects bubble their way through.’
      • ‘Here, during the rainy season, rapid bubbling rivers flow along the bottoms of these chasms.’
      • ‘The temples are built next to bubbling springs of hot water that surge from under the ground.’
      • ‘Instead a circle of water forms a large ring, with waterfalls and bubbling rapids, ending in a tranquil pool.’
      • ‘The aim of the bubbling fountains is to create water sounds which are meant to be soothing.’
      • ‘The use of rhythm is usually absent, in favor of floating bass and bubbling sine waves.’
      • ‘It didn't take much time for her to relax and enjoy the sound of bubbling water and birds chirping.’
      • ‘The only noise is from the Fontana Amorosa, or fountain of love, bubbling forth nearby.’
      • ‘Not far away is Rotorua, a tourist spot famed for its steam, geysers, bubbling mud and foul, sulphurous smells.’
      • ‘What Hawkins does best is build a steady pace into each track to make a stream of bubbling sounds and images.’
      gurgle, murmur, purr, purl, tinkle, whir, drone, rumble, buzz, hum
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2bubble with or over with (of a person) be exuberantly filled with an irrepressible positive feeling.
      ‘Ellen was bubbling with such enthusiasm’
      • ‘Smiling, bubbling with energy and exuding a quiet confidence, Annie Maria doesn't exactly fit in with one's image of an evangelist.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His mind is bubbling with ideas to help improve the West of Ireland.’
      • ‘Her mother bubbled over enthusiastically with tales of her progress.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even before we part, he's getting me maps, inking in West Coast routes, bubbling with excitement about the possibilities.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘It was probably an act of extortion of a criminal nature,’ she says, her voice bubbling with the energy that epitomises her.’
      • ‘Rice is bubbling with enthusiasm for his latest project.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, it's a chucklesome 200-odd pages, bright and breezy and bubbling with imagination and enthusiasm.’
      • ‘Well the newspapers, TV reports and radio broadcasts are fairly bubbling with excitement over the upcoming federal election and that's great.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They were bubbling with enthusiasm as they learnt new words such as ‘mano sakthi’ and ‘anma sakthi.’’
      overflow, brim over, be filled, run over, gush
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3bubble up (especially of a negative feeling) become more intense and approach the point of being vehemently expressed.
      ‘the fury bubbling up inside her’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This is a great opportunity to see the new talent and the fresh ideas that are bubbling up in the Australian film world.’
      • ‘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 felt a hallelujah bubbling up in my throat but quickly suppressed it when we were asked to stand and sing along.’
      • ‘His strange sense of humour still bubbles up to the surface from time to time, although his action sequences truly distinguish his work.’
      • ‘I hate being so fatalistic, but I can't ignore the fear and tension bubbling up inside my mind right now.’
      • ‘Anyway, whatever keeps bubbling up from my subconscious, rest assured you'll read it here.’
      • ‘This common-sense progressive message already is bubbling up from the grassroots to party leaders.’
      • ‘But still that end-of-summer dread bubbles up within my body's cells.’
      • ‘Well, this has been sort of bubbling up for the past few years.’
      • ‘‘Web services’ is one of those tech buzzwords that bubbles up and takes hold.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So this is something that's really been bubbling up from the surface.’
      • ‘Many more, though, are just pointers to news stories bubbling up beneath the radar of the national political press.’
      • ‘Still, it's the cheerful inner spirit that bubbles up from within, that characterises the successful model.’
      • ‘I had to suppress a hysterical giggle bubbling up inside of me.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This results in deeply disturbing memories bubbling up from the depths.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘I don't believe I have the right to be a best-selling author,’ Truss says, the self-doubt bubbling up again.’


  • on the bubble

    • informal (of a sports player or team) last or among the last awaiting news about qualifying for the final place in a competition.

      • ‘Finally, there's the regular-season finale, at Richmond, the make-or-break race for drivers 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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mack, who also returned kickoffs, already was on the bubble became the team is looking to create salary-cap room.’
      • ‘Some say he's on the bubble but, after tonight, maybe not.’
      • ‘Players on the bubble still have a chance to secure their future with the team or catch the eyes of other teams.’
      • ‘Wakefield was on the bubble, close to being released.’
      • ‘Some teams are destined to forever be on the bubble.’


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