bull

1
[ boo l ]
/ bʊl /

noun

adjective

verb (used with object)

Idioms

    bull in a china shop,
    1. an awkward or clumsy person.
    2. an inconsiderate or tactless person.
    3. a troublemaker; dangerous person.
    take the bull by the horns, to attack a difficult or risky problem fearlessly.

Origin of bull

1
1150–1200; Middle English bule, Old English bula; akin to Old Norse boli; see bullock

Related forms

bull-like, adjective

Definition for bull (2 of 7)

bull

2
[ boo l ]
/ bʊl /

noun

a bulla or seal.
Roman Catholic Church. a formal papal document having a bulla attached.

Origin of bull

2
1250–1300; Middle English bulle < Anglo-French < Medieval Latin bulla seal, sealed document; see bulla

Definition for bull (3 of 7)

bull

3
[ boo l ]
/ bʊl /

noun Slang.

exaggerations; lies; nonsense.

Origin of bull

3
1620–30; < Medieval Latin bulla play, game, jest, perhaps special use of Latin bulla bubble; now generally taken as a euphemistic shortening of bullshit

Definition for bull (4 of 7)

Bull

[ bool ]
/ bul /

noun

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

Definition for bull (5 of 7)

bull.


abbreviation

Definition for bull (6 of 7)

Halsey

[ hawl-zee ]
/ ˈhɔl zi /

noun

William FrederickBull, 1882–1959, U.S. admiral.

Definition for bull (7 of 7)

John Bull


noun

England; the English people.
the typical Englishman.

Origin of John Bull

1705–15; named after John Bull, chief character in Arbuthnot's allegory The History of John Bull (1712)

Related forms

John Bullish, adjectiveJohn Bullishness, nounJohn Bullism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bull

British Dictionary definitions for bull (1 of 6)

bull

1
/ (bʊl) /

noun

adjective

male; masculinea bull elephant
large; strong

verb

Word Origin for bull

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

British Dictionary definitions for bull (2 of 6)

bull

2
/ (bʊl) /

noun

a ludicrously self-contradictory or inconsistent statementAlso called: Irish bull

Word Origin for bull

C17: of uncertain origin

British Dictionary definitions for bull (3 of 6)

bull

3
/ (bʊl) /

noun

a formal document issued by the pope, written in antiquated characters and often sealed with a leaden bulla

Word Origin for bull

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

British Dictionary definitions for bull (4 of 6)

Bull

1
/ (bʊl) /

noun

the Bull the constellation Taurus, the second sign of the zodiac

British Dictionary definitions for bull (5 of 6)

Bull

2
/ (bʊl) /

noun

John . 1563–1628, English composer and organist

British Dictionary definitions for bull (6 of 6)

John Bull


noun

a personification of England or the English people
a typical Englishman

Derived Forms

John Bullish, adjectiveJohn Bullishness, nounJohn Bullism, noun

Word Origin for John Bull

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

Culture definitions for bull

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.

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