VIDEO FOR BULLY
The Word "Bully" Used To Mean ... "Sweetheart"?!
The word bully is first recorded around the mid-1500s, when it actually meant—wait for it—“sweetheart.” What?!
Origin of bully1
OTHER WORDS FROM bullybul·ly·a·ble, adjectiveun·bul·lied, adjectiveun·bul·ly·ing, adjective
Words nearby bully
Other definitions for bully (2 of 3)
Other definitions for bully (3 of 3)
Origin of bully3
ABOUT THIS WORD
What does bully mean?
A bully is a person who harasses, abuses, intimidates, or coerces people, especially those with less power than they have or those considered weaker or vulnerable in some way. The word often implies that such behavior is repeated or habitual.
Bully can also be a verb meaning to treat people in this way (to act as a bully toward them), as in The man who used to bully his classmates in school is now teaching children how not to bully others. Someone who is treated in this way is said to be bullied. The act of treating people in this way is called bullying.
Bullies are primarily associated with school settings involving kids, but adults can be considered bullies as well. The most familiar form of a bully depicted in popular culture is the neighborhood or schoolyard bully, usually a physically strong or large child or teenager who uses their size to bully smaller, younger, or more timid kids. Famous fictional bullies that fit this profile include Biff Tannen from Back to the Future and Nelson Muntz from The Simpsons. However, the understanding of what constitutes bullying has evolved and broadened to encompass behavior that involves not just physical but emotional abuse and manipulation.
Many studies have shown that bullying has long-lasting emotional and psychological effects, and many organized efforts and campaigns are devoted to preventing bullying in schools and elsewhere. The word cyberbully is used as a noun and a verb in the context of bullying that happens online.
Bully can also be used a bit more generally to mean to force or coerce someone into doing something, as in The trainer bullied me into signing up for an expensive gym membership.
An entirely different (and much less common) use of bully is as an adjective to describe something as great or excellent, as in What a bully day! It’s also used as an interjection meaning “Great!” or “Well done!” as in Bully for you: you got all A’s on your report card! These uses of the word are now typically considered old-fashioned.
Example: Our school has a zero tolerance policy for bullying—bullies are immediately suspended.
Where does bully come from?
The first records of bully come from around 1530. It comes from the Middle Dutch word boele, which means “lover.” At that time, bully was used in English to mean “sweetheart.” Its use then became more general, coming to mean “fine fellow,” and, eventually, the opposite: “swaggering coward.” Bully began to be used in this sense around the 1700s.
Bully as an interjection meaning “Great!” is especially associated with U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, and in fact he is thought to have introduced the term bully pulpit.
Did you know … ?
What are some other forms related to bully?
- bullying (continuous tense verb, noun)
What are some synonyms for bully?
What are some words that share a root or word element with bully?
What are some words that often get used in discussing bully?
How is bully used in real life?
Bullies and bullying are primarily associated with children, but the word is also used in reference to adults. Bullying is treated as a serious problem in schools and online, especially due to the lasting effects it can have on those who are bullied.
Academic bullying is a major problem. After reporting my own abuse to the dean in my first grad program 8y ago, my bully was promoted and I was pushed to leave. I left science for years; my career is only now recovering. I am not alone. Neither are you.https://t.co/8wrivwrjs9
— Amy Gill (@biochemnerd) June 3, 2021
I was bullied for years at school and it had a massive impact on my mental health. Years later I feel like I've only just really recovered. I am supporting this weeks campaign. Please dont be afraid to speak out if you're struggling. #AntiBullyingWeek #ChooseKindness
— Fran Prison RD (@FranWaldock) November 13, 2019
— The Verge (@verge) June 10, 2021
Try using bully!
True or False?
The word bully always refers to a child.
How to use bully in a sentence
Childhood was rough for Guy Frankenstein, 54, who got bullied for both his first and last name.When your last name is Frankenstein and it’s Halloween|Kellie B. Gormly|October 30, 2020|Washington Post
Everyone thinks he’s so cool that he gets to go to the NHL, but I don’t see how someone can be cool when you pick on someone and bully someone your entire life.Coyotes renounce draft rights to player who admitted to horrific bullying incident|Matt Bonesteel|October 29, 2020|Washington Post
“I have never seen a hearing so close to an election on any topic,” Schatz began, arguing that the Senate is supposed to stay out of such matters “This is bullying, and it is for electoral purposes.”Facebook, Google, Twitter CEOs clash with Congress in pre-election showdown|Tony Romm, Rachel Lerman, Cat Zakrzewski, Heather Kelly, Elizabeth Dwoskin|October 28, 2020|Washington Post
When people tell you what’s literally going on with them and then people still continue to bully them.ICYMI: Summer Walker Takes Home Her First Billboard Music Award For ‘Best R&B Female Artist’|Rachaell Davis|October 16, 2020|Essence.com
He was bullied, of course, and though there were a few guys in his class that he called friends, he never truly knew whom he could trust.
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|Chloé Valdary|October 21, 2014|DAILY BEAST
And when we have been spared such tragedy, it has happened precisely because presidents have stood up to the bully caucus.
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.
I think if you give me a full and unlimited commission to bully Giles and that little boy, Brittles, I can manage it.Oliver Twist, Vol. II (of 3)|Charles Dickens
Both Coulter and Paxton fell upon the bully together and punished him severely.
The pair told Ritter what they thought of him, and each declared that he was going to expose the bully to Captain Putnam.
A man, burly and broad-shouldered, who had the air of a professional bully, walked by himself ahead.The Double Four|E. Phillips Oppenheim
Digby had shaken himself clear of the bully, whose face was livid with anger, and stood facing him.Digby Heathcote|W.H.G. Kingston