boil out of somewhere

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Senior Member
Hello everyone,

Could you help me with the following issue, please? The thing is that I can guess what the verb BOIL means in this context:

...the first ambulance arrived and EMTs boiled out of it in a totally unnecessary rush.

but I'd like to be sure. It means "move fast" (in this particular context "get out fast"). Am I correct in my assumptions? I'd appreciate it a lot if you gave me another situation in which I could use this verb. It would help understand its meaning thoroughly.

Thanks in advance.
  • TimLA

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Yes, your interpretation is correct.

    Think about a pot of boiling water, and all of the bubbles and drops coming out of the top

    That's what the author was describing.

    I'd stick to using the verb to describe boiling liquids.


    Yes, you're right. The EMTs burst out of the ambulance (like bubbles on the surface of boiling water).

    But it's not the usual context in which the word is used outside its literal meaning. It is often used to denote strong emotion - He boiled with fury/jealousy/hate.


    Senior Member
    I thought it was a typo. I'd be more inclined to say 'bail out', but that is maybe because I have never seen/heard 'boil' out used in this way before.
    I'm reading two Dan Simmons' books simultaneously and the man likes this word in this particular meaning. I've seen him use it at least three times.
    Here's what I just come by on


    4. a:to rush tumultuously or headlong
    <they boiled through the door in pursuit of the fleeing bandit>
    <the insects would come boiling out of the swamps — R. P. Warren>


    English - U.S.
    It almost sounds like the sprinklers went off because there really was a fire, and the people were literally boiled.:) "Boiled" except for "caused a liquid to reach its boiling point" or "cooked something by immersing it in boiling water" might be a word best left to native speakers, who themselves have to be careful not to use it ridiculously.
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