Be'lly. n.s. [balg, Dutch; bol, bola, Welch.]
- That part of the human body which reaches from the breast to the thighs, containing the bowels.
The body's members
Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it; —
That only like a gulf it did remain,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing
Like labour with the rest. Shakesp. Coriolanus.
- In beasts, it is used, in general, for that part of the body next the ground.
And the Lord said unto the serpent, upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. Gen. iii. 14.
- The womb; in this sense, it is commonly used ludicrously or familiarly.
I shall answer that better, than you can the getting up of the negro's belly: the Moor is with child by you. Shakesp. Merchant of Venice.
The secret is grown too big for the pretence, like Mrs. Primly's big belly. Congreve's Way of the World.
- That part of man which requires food, in opposition to the back, or that which demands cloaths.
They were content with a licentious and idle life, wherein they might fill their bellies by spoil, rather than by labour. Sir J. Hayward.
Whose god is their belly. Phil. iii. 19.
He that sows his grain upon marble, will have many a hungry belly before harvest. Arbuthnot's History of J. Bull.
- The part of any thing that swells out into a larger capacity.
Fortune sometimes turneth the handle of the bottle, which is easy to be taken hold of; and, after, the belly, which is hard to grasp. Bacon's Ornament. Ration.
An Irish harp hath the concave, or belly, not along the strings, but at the end of the strings. Bacon's Nat. History, № 146.
- Any place in which something is inclosed.
Out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardst my voice. Jonah, ii. 2.