boil

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

  • verb to heat a liquid until it reaches a temperature at which it changes into gas
  • verb to reach boiling point

Cars & Driving

  • verb to bubble and change partly to vapour due to heat, said of engine coolant and colloquially of a car or its engine, also of brake fluid

Construction

  • A wet run of material at the bottom of an excavation.
  • A swelling in the bottom of an excavation due to seepage. See also blows.

Food

  • verb to heat water until it reaches 100°C
  • verb to cook something by putting it in boiling water

Medical

  • noun a tender raised mass of infected tissue and skin, usually caused by infection of a hair follicle by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus.

Origin & History of “boil”

Boil ‘large spot’ (OE) and boil ‘vaporize with heat’ (13th c.) are distinct words. The former comes from Old English bȳl or bȳle, which became bile in middle English; the change to boil started in the 15th century, perhaps from association with the verb. The Old English word goes back ultimately to a west Germanic *būlja, whose central meaning element was ‘swelling’; from it also comes German beule ‘lump, boil’. The verb’s source, via Anglo-Norman boiller, is Latin bullīre, a derivative of bulla ‘bubble’, a word which also gave us bull (as in ‘Papal bull’), bullion, bowl (as in the game of ‘bowls’), budge, bullet, bulletin and bully (as in ‘bully beef’), as well, perhaps, as bill.
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