[ bee-bee ]
/ ˈbiˌbi /


a size of shot, 0.18 inch (0.46 centimeter) in diameter, fired from an air rifle or BB gun.
Also called BB shot. shot of this size.



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Origin of BB

An Americanism dating back to 1870–75

Definition for BB (2 of 6)


a quality rating for a corporate or municipal bond, lower than BBB and higher than B.

Definition for BB (3 of 6)


ball bearing.
Baseball. base on balls; bases on balls.

Definition for BB (4 of 6)


bail bond.

Definition for BB (5 of 6)


bottled in bond.

Definition for BB (6 of 6)


bail bond.
Blue Book.
B'nai B'rith.
Bureau of the Budget. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


What else does bb mean?

In text messages and online, bb can be short for baby, especially as it’s used as a term of endearment for significant others or friends. In this sense, it can sometimes be pronounced as [bey-bee].

Bb can also be short for quite a few other things, including basketball, bye-bye, the pellets of a BB gun, and some NSFW applications.

Where does bb come from?

Like a lot of digital slang, the various abbreviations of bb spread in the 1990s–2000s in chatting, texting, and general internet activities, all of which favor abbreviations and acronyms for speed and convenience.

BB guns, however, have been around since the 1880s, and were named for the size of the projectile they shoot (between B and BBB size types, or 0.18 inches). BBs were originally shotgun ammo before becoming associated with air guns.

Content warning: the following section contains sexual language.

Bb, as in baby, may have made its way to general text-speak or internet slang from sexual escort websites, where bb encoded such things as barebacking (sex without a condom), big boobs, and big (or bubble) butts. Exchanges between lovers have included bb, for calling each other baby.

How is bb used in real life?

Capital BB typically refers to a BB gun or the projectile shot by them, a BB. It’s also the stock trading symbol (BB) for the software company and former hit phone BlackBerry.

The abbreviation bb, as mentioned, is short for lots of things online. It’s occasionally used as an acronym for basketball and bye-bye.

More commonly, however, bb is short for baby as an affectionate term used of lovers, partners, friends, and even pets. Fans on social media may even gush over their idols by referring to them as bb.

Bb can be all the cuter when coupled with other internet abbreviations or slang: ILY bb gurl (i.e., I love you, baby girl).

More examples of bb:

“Asia Moss, a middle-schooler, says she was shot with a BB when she was younger. She says the kids who are toughest have BB guns, pocket knives or Mace.”
Jonna McKone, NPR, July 2016


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

Example sentences from the Web for BB

British Dictionary definitions for BB (1 of 2)


the internet domain name for


British Dictionary definitions for BB (2 of 2)


abbreviation for

Boys' Brigade

symbol for

(on Brit pencils) double black: denoting a very soft lead
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012