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To flare out in the wind, as of fabric. The sails bellied out in the afternoon breeze.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
[for a sheet of fabric, such as a ship's sail] to fill out in the wind. The sails bellied out as the ship turned to catch the wind. When the sails bellied out, we began to move forward.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.