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bull1

[boo l]
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noun
  1. the male of a bovine animal, especially of the genus Bos, with sexual organs intact and capable of reproduction.
  2. the male of certain other animals, as the elephant and moose.
  3. a large, solidly built person.
  4. a person who believes that market prices, especially of stocks, will increase (opposed to bear).
  5. (initial capital letter) Astronomy, Astrology. the constellation or sign of Taurus.
  6. a bulldog.
  7. Slang. a police officer.
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adjective
  1. male.
  2. of, relating to, or resembling a bull, as in strength.
  3. having to do with or marked by a continuous trend of rising prices, as of stocks: a bull market.
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verb (used with object)
  1. Stock Exchange. to attempt to raise the price of.
  2. to speculate in, in expectation of a rise in price.
  3. to force; shove: to bull one's way through a crowd.
  4. Nautical. to ram (a buoy).
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Idioms
  1. bull in a china shop,
    1. an awkward or clumsy person.
    2. an inconsiderate or tactless person.
    3. a troublemaker; dangerous person.
  2. take the bull by the horns, to attack a difficult or risky problem fearlessly.
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Origin of bull1

1150–1200; Middle English bule, Old English bula; akin to Old Norse boli; see bullock
Related formsbull-like, adjective

bull2

[boo l]
noun
  1. a bulla or seal.
  2. Roman Catholic Church. a formal papal document having a bulla attached.
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Origin of bull2

1250–1300; Middle English bulle < Anglo-French < Medieval Latin bulla seal, sealed document; see bulla

bull3

[boo l]
noun Slang.
  1. exaggerations; lies; nonsense.
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Idioms
  1. shoot the bull, to talk aimlessly: We just sat around shooting the bull.
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Origin of bull3

1620–30; < Medieval Latin bulla play, game, jest, perhaps special use of Latin bulla bubble; now generally taken as a euphemistic shortening of bullshit

Bull

[bool]
noun
  1. O·le (Bor·ne·mann) [oh-luh bor-nuh-mahn] /ˈoʊ lə ˈbɒr nəˌmɑn/, 1810–80, Norwegian violinist and composer.
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bull.

abbreviation
  1. bulletin.
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Halsey

[hawl-zee]
noun
  1. William FrederickBull, 1882–1959, U.S. admiral.
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John Bull

noun
  1. England; the English people.
  2. the typical Englishman.
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Origin of John Bull

1705–15; named after John Bull, chief character in Arbuthnot's allegory The History of John Bull (1712)
Related formsJohn Bullish, adjectiveJohn Bullishness, nounJohn Bullism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bull

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British Dictionary definitions for bull

bull1

noun
  1. any male bovine animal, esp one that is sexually matureRelated adjective: taurine
  2. the uncastrated adult male of any breed of domestic cattle
  3. the male of various other animals including the elephant and whale
  4. a very large, strong, or aggressive person
  5. stock exchange
    1. a speculator who buys in anticipation of rising prices in order to make a profit on resale
    2. (as modifier)a bull market Compare bear 1 (def. 5)
  6. mainly British short for bull's-eye (def. 1), bull's-eye (def. 2)
  7. slang short for bullshit
  8. short for bulldog, bull terrier
  9. a bull in a china shop a clumsy person
  10. shoot the bull US and Canadian slang
    1. to pass time talking lightly
    2. to boast or exaggerate
  11. take the bull by the horns to face and tackle a difficulty without shirking
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adjective
  1. male; masculinea bull elephant
  2. large; strong
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verb
  1. (tr) to raise or attempt to raise the price or prices of (a stock market or a security) by speculative buying
  2. (intr) (of a cow) to be on heat
  3. (intr) US slang to talk lightly or foolishly
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Word Origin

Old English bula, from Old Norse boli; related to Middle Low German bulle, Middle Dutch bolle

bull2

noun
  1. a ludicrously self-contradictory or inconsistent statementAlso called: Irish bull
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Word Origin

C17: of uncertain origin

bull3

noun
  1. a formal document issued by the pope, written in antiquated characters and often sealed with a leaden bulla
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Word Origin

C13: from Medieval Latin bulla seal attached to a bull, from Latin: round object

Bull1

noun
  1. the Bull the constellation Taurus, the second sign of the zodiac
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Bull2

noun
  1. John . 1563–1628, English composer and organist
  2. See John Bull
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John Bull

noun
  1. a personification of England or the English people
  2. a typical Englishman
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Derived FormsJohn Bullish, adjectiveJohn Bullishness, nounJohn Bullism, noun

Word Origin

C18: name of a character intended to be representative of the English nation in The History of John Bull (1712) by John Arbuthnot
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 bull

n.1

"bovine male animal," from Old English bula "a bull, a steer," or Old Norse boli "bull," both from Proto-Germanic *bullon- (cf. Middle Dutch bulle, Dutch bul, German Bulle), perhaps from a Germanic verbal stem meaning "to roar," which survives in some German dialects and perhaps in the first element of boulder (q.v.). The other possibility [Watkins] is that the Germanic root is from PIE *bhln-, from root *bhel- (2) "to blow, inflate, swell" (see bole).

An uncastrated male, reared for breeding, as opposed to a bullock or steer. Extended after 1610s to males of other large animals (elephant, alligator, whale, etc.). Stock market sense is from 1714 (see bear (n.)). Meaning "policeman" attested by 1859. Figurative phrase to take the bull by the horns first recorded 1711. To be a bull in a china shop, figurative of careless and inappropriate use of force, attested from 1812 and was the title of a popular humorous song in 1820s England. Bull-baiting attested from 1570s.

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n.2

"papal edict," c.1300, from Medieval Latin bulla "sealed document" (source of Old French bulle, Italian bulla), originally the word for the seal itself, from Latin bulla "round swelling, knob," said ultimately to be from Gaulish, from PIE *beu-, a root supposed to have formed words associated with swelling (cf. Lithuanian bule "buttocks," Middle Dutch puyl "bag," also possibly Latin bucca "cheek").

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v.

"push through roughly," 1884, from bull (n.1). Related: Bulled; bulling.

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n.3

"false talk, fraud," Middle English, apparently from Old French bole "deception, trick, scheming, intrigue," and perhaps connected to modern Icelandic bull "nonsense."

Sais christ to ypocrites ... yee ar ... all ful with wickednes, tresun and bull. ["Cursor Mundi," early 14c.]

There also was a verb bull meaning "to mock, cheat," which dates from 1530s.

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John Bull

"Englishman who exemplifies the national character," 1772, from name of a character representing the English nation in Arbuthnot's satire "History of John Bull" (1712).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

bull in Culture

John Bull

A figure who stands for England in literary and political satire and in cartoons. John Bull is a stout, feisty man, often shown in a suit made out of the British flag.

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Note

John Bull is the British equivalent of the United States' symbol (see also symbol) Uncle Sam.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with bull

bull

In addition to the idioms beginning with bull

  • bull in a china shop
  • bull session

also see:

  • cock and bull story
  • hit the bull's-eye
  • shoot the breeze (bull)
  • take the bull by the horns
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.