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 formsbull-like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for bull in a china shop (1 of 5)

Bull

1
/ (bʊl) /

noun

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

British Dictionary definitions for bull in a china shop (2 of 5)

Bull

2
/ (bʊl) /

noun

John . 1563–1628, English composer and organist

British Dictionary definitions for bull in a china shop (3 of 5)

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 in a china shop (4 of 5)

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 in a china shop (5 of 5)

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
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

Idioms and Phrases with bull in a china shop (1 of 2)

bull in a china shop


An extremely clumsy person, as in Her living room, with its delicate furniture and knickknacks, made him feel like a bull in a china shop. The precise origin for this term has been lost; it was first recorded in Frederick Marryat's novel, Jacob Faithful (1834).

Idioms and Phrases with bull in a china shop (2 of 2)

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.