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

Origin of BB

An Americanism dating back to 1870–75


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



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


bail bond.
Blue Book.
B'nai B'rith.
Bureau of the Budget.


bottled in bond.


bail bond.




Billie Jean (Mof·fitt) [mof-it] /ˈmɒf ɪt/, born 1943, U.S. tennis player.
Clarence,1842–1901, U.S. geologist and cartographer.
Co·ret·ta Scott [kaw-ret-uh] /kɔˈrɛt ə/, 1927–2006, U.S. civil rights leader (widow of Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Ernest Joseph,1878–1956, U.S. naval officer.
Martin Luther, Jr.,1929–68, U.S. Baptist minister: civil-rights leader; Nobel Peace Prize 1964.
MaxineMicki, born 1944, U.S. springboard diver.
Richard,1825–85, U.S. rancher and steamboat operator.
Riley B.B.B., 1925–2015, U.S. blues singer and guitarist.
Rufus,1755–1827, U.S. political leader and statesman.
Stephen,born 1947, U.S. novelist and short-story writer.
William Lyon Mackenzie,1874–1950, Canadian statesman: prime minister 1921–26, 1926–30, 1935–48.
William Rufus De·Vane [duh-veyn] /dəˈveɪn/, 1786–1853, vice president of the U.S. 1853. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bb

Contemporary Examples of bb

Historical Examples of bb

British Dictionary definitions for bb


the internet domain name for



abbreviation for

Boys' Brigade

symbol for

(on Brit pencils) double black: denoting a very soft lead



a male sovereign prince who is the official ruler of an independent state; monarchRelated adjectives: royal, regal, monarchical
  1. a ruler or chiefking of the fairies
  2. (in combination)the pirate king
  1. a person, animal, or thing considered as the best or most important of its kind
  2. (as modifier)a king bull
any of four playing cards in a pack, one for each suit, bearing the picture of a king
the most important chess piece, although theoretically the weakest, being able to move only one square at a time in any directionSee also check (def. 30), checkmate
draughts a piece that has moved entirely across the board and has been crowned, after which it may move backwards as well as forwards
king of kings
  1. God
  2. a title of any of various oriental monarchs

verb (tr)

to make (someone) a king
king it to act in a superior fashion
Derived Formskinghood, nounkingless, adjectivekinglike, adjective

Word Origin for king

Old English cyning; related to Old High German kunig king, Danish konge



B.B., real name Riley B. King. born 1925, US blues singer and guitarist
Billie Jean (née Moffitt). born 1943, US tennis player: winner of twelve Grand Slam singles titles, including Wimbledon (1966–68, 1972–73, and 1975) and the US Open (1967, 1971–72, and 1974)
Martin Luther. 1929–68, US Baptist minister and civil-rights leader. He advocated nonviolence in his campaigns against the segregation of Black people in the South: assassinated: Nobel Peace Prize 1964
Stephen (Edwin). born 1947, US writer esp of horror novels; his books, many of which have been filmed, include Carrie (1974), The Shining (1977), Misery (1988), and Everything's Eventual (2002)
William Lyon Mackenzie. 1874–1950, Canadian Liberal statesman; prime minister (1921–26; 1926–30; 1935–48)
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

Word Origin and History for bb



Old English cyning "king, ruler," from Proto-Germanic *kuninggaz (cf. Dutch koning, Old Norse konungr, Danish konge, Old Saxon and Old High German kuning, Middle High German künic, German König). Possibly related to Old English cynn "family, race" (see kin), making a king originally a "leader of the people;" or from a related root suggesting "noble birth," making a king originally "one who descended from noble birth." The sociological and ideological implications render this a topic of much debate.

Finnish kuningas "king," Old Church Slavonic kunegu "prince" (Russian knyaz, Bohemian knez), Lithuanian kunigas "clergyman" are loans from Germanic.

As leon is the king of bestes. [John Gower, "Confessio Amantis," 1390]

In Old English, used for names of chiefs of Anglian and Saxon tribes or clans, then of the states they founded. Also extended to British and Danish chiefs they fought. The chess piece so called from early 15c.; the playing card from 1560s; use in checkers/draughts first recorded 1820. Applied in nature to species deemed remarkably big or dominant (e.g. king crab, 1690s). In marketing, king-size is from 1939, originally of cigarettes.

[I]t was [Eugene] Field who haunted the declining years of Creston Clarke with his review of that actor's Lear. ... Said he, "Mr. Clarke played the King all the evening as though under constant fear that someone else was about to play the Ace." ["Theatre Magazine," January 1922]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with bb


In addition to the idiom beginning with king

, also see

  • live like a king


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.