You say:

His tummy pushed out when he was full.
He pushed out his stomach and it became like the stomach of a pregnant woman.

What if you do the opposite thing?
What verb do you use? As in:

He thrust out his chest and [...] his stomach.

Can we also use this phrasal verb with an object, as in:

That much food he had, pushed his tummy out.

If not, what verbs can you use instead?

  • 8
    Idiomatically, for stomachs, we tend to say "sucked in". For other objects, like, I don't know, rescuing a kitten that's falling out a window, we say "pull in".
    – Dan Bron
    Feb 27, 2016 at 14:14
  • 2
    -1. Don't take it personally. I am on a mission to downvote questions asking for the "opposite" of an idea that doesn't really have an opposite. What is the opposite of "to bulge from excess"? Not to bulge because of moderation? To become concave from lack? What is the opposite of a bulging sack?
    – TimR
    Feb 27, 2016 at 14:41

2 Answers 2


All of that food caused his stomach to bulge outward.

"Bulge" is a great word to use here, and is quite idiomatic. In fact, there's a phrase in the US "Battle of the Bulge" that relates to the fight to stay thin... though it can also relate to an actual battle in World War II, so keep that in mind.

It can also be used this way:

He relaxed, letting his stomach bulge out.

The nearest "opposite", if there can be one, is "hold in" or "suck in" or something similar.

Some examples:

Suck in your gut!
To look thinner in the photo, he pulled in his stomach.


Possible opposites for a large stomach due to eating too much food might be

His lack of food left him with a

hollowed out stomach
sunken stomach
concave stomach
sucked in stomach
anorexic's stomach

With too much food the stomach domes out (convex), the opposite happens with too little food (given enough time).

  • What if you do it? Not due to eating little food. For example when you thrust out your chest, and [.....] your stomach! Feb 27, 2016 at 17:14
  • 2
    pull in, suck in your stomach. In the military they will say "Stand straight, head up, stomach in, chest out. Suck in the stomach!" It's the same if you suck on a straw to drink something, your cheeks will hollow out.
    – Peter
    Feb 27, 2016 at 17:16
  • So can you say "His stomach hollowed out, as he pushed forward his chest." Feb 27, 2016 at 17:24
  • 2
    @Cheiloproclitic Typically we'd say "He sucked in his stomach as he puffed out his chest".
    – Dan Bron
    Feb 27, 2016 at 19:01
  • Also “draw in”.
    – user3395
    Mar 28, 2016 at 18:12

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