Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English bile, büle (boil, tumor), from Old English bȳl, bȳle (boil, swelling), from Proto-Germanic *būlijō, *būlō (boil). Akin to Dutch buil (boil, swelling), German Beule (boil, hump), Icelandic beyla (swelling, hump).


boil (plural boils)

  1. A localized accumulation of pus in the skin, resulting from infection.
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Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English boillen, from Old French boillir (French: bouillir) from Latin bullīre, present active infinitive of bulliō (I bubble, boil), from bulla (bubble). Displaced native Middle English sethen (to boil) (from Old English sēoþan (to boil, seethe)), Middle English wellen (to boil, bubble) (from Old English wiellan (to bubble, boil)), Middle English wallen (to well up, boil) (from Old English weallan (to well up, boil)). More at seethe, well.


boil (plural boils)

  1. The point at which fluid begins to change to a vapour.
    Add the noodles when the water comes to the boil.
  2. A dish of boiled food, especially based on seafood.
  3. (rare, nonstandard) The collective noun for a group of hawks.
  4. (Scotland, archaic) A bubbling.
    • 1828, James Hogg, Mary Burnet
      He swam to the place where Mary disappeared but there was neither boil nor gurgle on the water, nor even a bell of departing breath, to mark the place where his beloved had sunk.
Derived termsEdit
Terms derived from boil (noun)


boil (third-person singular simple present boils, present participle boiling, simple past and past participle boiled)

  1. (transitive, of liquids) To heat to the point where it begins to turn into a gas.
    Boil some water in a pan.
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To cook in boiling water.
    Boil the eggs for three minutes.
    Is the rice boiling yet?
  3. (intransitive, of liquids) To begin to turn into a gas, seethe.
    Pure water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
  4. (transitive, UK, informal) To bring to a boil, to heat so as to cause the contents to boil.
    • 1991, Stephen Fry, The Liar, p. 20–21:
      I'll boil the kettle.
  5. (intransitive, informal, used only in progressive tenses, of weather) To be uncomfortably hot.
    It’s boiling outside!
  6. (intransitive, informal, used only in progressive tenses) To feel uncomfortably hot.
    I’m boiling in here – could you open the window?
  7. (transitive) To form, or separate, by boiling or evaporation.
    to boil sugar or salt
    • 2016, Alex Groner, American Heritage History of American Business:
      Another leader in the packaged product business was the Procter & Gamble Company, formed in Cincinnati in 1837 by William Procter, who molded candles, and his brother-in-law, James Gamble, who boiled soap.
  8. (obsolete) To steep or soak in warm water.
    • 1631, Francis [Bacon], “(please specify |century=I to X)”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. [], 3rd edition, London: [] VVilliam Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee [], OCLC 1044372886:
      To try whether seeds be old or new, the sense cannot inform; but if you boil them in water, the new seeds will sprout sooner.
  9. To be agitated like boiling water; to bubble; to effervesce.
    the boiling waves of the sea
  10. To be moved or excited with passion; to be hot or fervid.
    His blood boils with anger.
Derived termsEdit
Terms derived from boil (verb)
Related termsEdit
See alsoEdit
Further readingEdit