The bilge is the lowest part of a ship where the bottom curves up to meet the sides. The water that collects there is also called bilge. Since bilge is dirty and smelly, the word is also slang for “nonsense.”

On a large ship, some water inevitably ends up in the part that’s below the water line, the bilge. Because the bilge tends to sit there for a long time, sloshing around and mixing with oil, chemicals, waste, and cleaning products, it tends to stink. Periodically, the bilge is pumped out so the ship doesn't get too heavy and sink. Bilge is thought to be a variation on bulge, originally "wallet or bag," and later "ship's hull."

Definitions of bilge

n where the sides of the vessel curve in to form the bottom

in a vessel with two hulls, an enclosed area between the frames at each side
Type of:
bottom, underside, undersurface
the lower side of anything

n water accumulated in the bilge of a ship

bilge water
Type of:
H2O, water
binary compound that occurs at room temperature as a clear colorless odorless tasteless liquid; freezes into ice below 0 degrees centigrade and boils above 100 degrees centigrade; widely used as a solvent

v take in water at the bilge

“the tanker bilged
take in water
Type of:
have an opening that allows light or substances to enter or go out

v cause to leak

“the collision bilged the vessel”
Type of:
inflict damage upon

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