Explosions shook the ground, artillery shells, mortars and bombs continuously rained down, fires blazed, and smoke bellowed high into the sky.

Doesn't bellowing mean "make a loud sound"? If that's the case, then why are we using it as if it meant "moving high into the sky"? It doesn't make sense. What kind of figure of speech is being used here? Or how do you explain such usage?


2 Answers 2


It's a misprint! The smoke billowed high into the sky.

See Lexico for definition and examples.

  • Could be that the text is exactly what the author wrote, but that he intended billowed, and it was missed in editing because it's just possibly a figure of speech... Commented May 15, 2020 at 13:50
  • 2
    Either way, it's just a mistake because the words are similar.
    – Barmar
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 15:12

It's an archaic term for expelling something - the root of the word is from the word "bellows" which pump and "bellow" air.

[Reference - 2nd definition][1] https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/bellowed+out

  • 2
    That's a link to "bellow out", which is not how the word was used in the question.
    – David K
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 11:05
  • 2
    Frankly, I think freedictionary is wrong here. There is no external citation for this usage and I can't find it in any other dictionary I've looked in.
    – Dancrumb
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 15:44
  • Er, the root is to make noise. etymonline.com/word/bellow (Hmm, pressing Enter is auto-submit...) A bellows is a tool for producing the force of air to operate a bellowing instrument, like an accordion. (It can be rather noisy itself, too.)
    – Dúthomhas
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 20:07
  • @Dúthomhas, my Concise Oxford says that the most likely etymology is from the Old English for belly, presumably referring to the appearance of a bellows rather than any particular use. Commented May 15, 2020 at 23:42
  • 1
    this is completely wrong
    – Fattie
    Commented May 16, 2020 at 20:37

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