belch

Definitions

General English

  • noun the action of allowing air in the stomach to come up through the mouth
  • verb to make air in the stomach come up through the mouth
  • verb to produce large amounts of smoke, fumes or flames

Food

  • noun a noise made through the mouth when air is suddenly forced up through the oesophagus from the stomach
  • verb to make a noise through the mouth when air is suddenly forced up through the oesophagus from the stomach

Medical

  • verb to allow air in the stomach to come up through the mouth

Origin & History of “belch”

Belch first appears in recognizable form in the 15th century, but it can scarcely not be related to belk ‘eructate’, which goes back to Old English bealcan and survived dialectally into the modern English period. Belch itself may derive either from an unrecorded variant of bealcan, *belcan (with the c here representing a /ch/ sound), or from a related Old English verb belcettan ‘eructate’. But whichever route it took, its ultimate source was probably a Germanic base *balk-or *belk-, from which German got bölken ‘bleat, low, belch’. Belch was originally a perfectly inoffensive word; it does not seem to have been until the 17th century that its associations began to drag it down towards vulgarity.
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