- a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.
- Archaic. a man hired to do violence.
- Obsolete. a pimp; procurer.
- Obsolete. good friend; good fellow.
- Obsolete. sweetheart; darling.
- to act the bully toward; intimidate; domineer.
- to be loudly arrogant and overbearing.
- Informal. fine; excellent; very good.
- dashing; jovial; high-spirited.
- Informal. good! well done!
Origin of bully1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for bully on Thesaurus.com
Origin of bully2
- Soccer. a desperate, freewheeling scramble for the ball by a number of players, usually in the goal area.
- Field Hockey. a method of putting the ball into play in which two opponents, facing each other, tap their sticks on the ground near the ball and then make contact with each other's sticks over the ball three times, after which each tries to gain possession of the ball.
Origin of bully3
Examples from the Web for bully
UNO puts such an onus on smoking students that it ultimately seems like a bully, even more than a nanny.The University Of New Orleans’ Cigarette Ban Is Total BS
October 21, 2014
And when we have been spared such tragedy, it has happened precisely because presidents have stood up to the bully caucus.Please—Let's Not Destroy ISIS
September 15, 2014
But as a true anti-bullying champion will tell you, a bully is no less a bully simply because his victim seeks to excuse him.
Or maybe even one on each wrist, both reading “I AM A BULLY.”
If I am elected, then I will have power and the ability to ‘bully’ Republicans, as you say.Dem Candidate: GOP Worse Than ISIS
September 7, 2014
"The professor made a bully speech," said more than one after the exercises were over.Brave and Bold
I have seen enough of you to know that you are a bully and coward.Little Dorrit
It was now that Globson, Bully no more, sought me out in the playground.The Uncommercial Traveller
And so it is with me, bully boy, saving that my doxy cometh not.The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
Straight up to the bully he walked and looked him firmly in the eye.The Widow O'Callaghan's Boys
- a person who hurts, persecutes, or intimidates weaker people
- archaic a hired ruffian
- obsolete a procurer; pimp
- obsolete a fine fellow or friend
- obsolete a sweetheart; darling
- (when tr , often foll by into) to hurt, intimidate, or persecute (a weaker or smaller person), esp to make him do something
- dashing; jollymy bully boy
- informal very good; fine
- Also: bully for you informal well done! bravo!
- any of various small freshwater fishes of the genera Gobiomorphus and Philynodon of New ZealandAlso called (NZ): pakoko, titarakura, toitoi
Word Origin and History for bully
1530s, originally "sweetheart," applied to either sex, from Dutch boel "lover; brother," probably a diminutive of Middle Dutch broeder "brother" (cf. Middle High German buole "brother," source of German Buhle "lover;" see brother (n.)).
Meaning deteriorated 17c. through "fine fellow" and "blusterer" to "harasser of the weak" (1680s, from bully-ruffian, 1650s). Perhaps this was by influence of bull (n.1), but a connecting sense between "lover" and "ruffian" may be in "protector of a prostitute," which was one sense of bully (though not specifically attested until 1706). The expression meaning "worthy, jolly, admirable" (especially in 1864 U.S. slang bully for you!) is first attested 1680s, and preserves an earlier, positive sense of the word.