1. Nautical.
    1. either of the rounded areas that form the transition between the bottom and the sides on the exterior of a hull.
    2. Also bilges.(in a hull with a double bottom) an enclosed area between frames at each side of the floors, where seepage collects.
    3. Also called bilge well.a well into which seepage drains to be pumped away.
    4. Also called bilge water.seepage accumulated in bilges.
  2. Slang. bilge water(def 2).
  3. the widest circumference or belly of a cask.

verb (used without object), bilged, bilg·ing.

  1. Nautical.
    1. to leak in the bilge.
    2. (of white paint) to turn yellow.
  2. to bulge or swell out.

verb (used with object), bilged, bilg·ing.

  1. Nautical. to damage (a hull bottom) so as to create an entry for seawater.


  1. nautical the parts of a vessel’s hull where the vertical sides curve inwards to form the bottom
  2. (often plural) the parts of a vessel between the lowermost floorboards and the bottom
  3. Also called: bilge water the dirty water that collects in a vessel’s bilge
  4. informal silly rubbish; nonsense
  5. the widest part of the belly of a barrel or cask


  1. (intr) nautical (of a vessel) to take in water at the bilge
  2. (tr) nautical to damage (a vessel) in the bilge, causing it to leak

1510s, “lowest internal part of a ship,” also used of the foulness which collects there; variant of bulge “ship’s hull,” also “leather bag,” from Old North French boulge “leather sack,” from Late Latin bulga “leather sack,” apparently from Gaulish bulga (see budget (n.)).

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