a blustering, mean, or predatory person who, from a perceived position of relative power, intimidates, abuses, harasses, or coerces people, especially those considered unlikely to defend themselves: playground bullies targeting children with disabilities;a workplace bully who cuts me off when I speak.
Archaic. a man hired to do violence.
Obsolete. a pimp; procurer.
Obsolete. a good friend; good fellow.
Obsolete. a sweetheart; darling.
to act the bully toward; habitually intimidate, abuse, or harass: The boy next door constantly bullies the younger children in the neighborhood.
to coerce or compel by bullying: The salesman bullied me into upgrading the car's paint protection and rust-proofing.
to act as a bully: People who bully are often very insecure.
- bul·ly·a·ble, adjective
- un·bul·lied, adjective
- un·bul·ly·ing, adjective
Other definitions for bully (2 of 4)
of or relating to a pit bull or bulldog: The shelter has a number of bully breed mix puppies available for adoption.
Other definitions for bully (3 of 4)
Other definitions for bully (4 of 4)
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
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 | THE 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.Ray Rice Should Have Remembered His 'Kindness' Anti-Bullying Wristband | Michael Daly | September 10, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Or maybe even one on each wrist, both reading “I AM A bully.”Ray Rice Should Have Remembered His 'Kindness' Anti-Bullying Wristband | Michael Daly | September 10, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
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 Mystery at Putnam Hall | Arthur M. Winfield
The pair told Ritter what they thought of him, and each declared that he was going to expose the bully to Captain Putnam.The Mystery at Putnam Hall | Arthur M. Winfield
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
British Dictionary definitions for bully (1 of 2)
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; jolly: my bully boy
informal very good; fine
Also: bully for you informal well done! bravo!
British Dictionary definitions for bully (2 of 2)
any of various small freshwater fishes of the genera Gobiomorphus and Philynodon of New Zealand: Also called (NZ): pakoko, titarakura, toitoi
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