Nearby words

  1. bullshot,
  2. bullsnake,
  3. bullwaddy,
  4. bullwhacker,
  5. bullwhip,
  6. bully beef,
  7. bully pulpit,
  8. bully tree,
  9. bully-off,
  10. bullyboy

Origin of bully

First recorded in 1530–40, bully is from the Middle Dutch word boele lover

Related formsbul·ly·a·ble, adjectiveun·bul·lied, adjectiveun·bul·ly·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bullying

British Dictionary definitions for bullying



noun plural -lies

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

verb -lies, -lying or -lied

(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!

Word Origin for bully

C16 (in the sense: sweetheart, hence fine fellow, hence swaggering coward): probably from Middle Dutch boele lover, from Middle High German buole, perhaps childish variant of bruoder brother



noun plural -lies

any of various small freshwater fishes of the genera Gobiomorphus and Philynodon of New ZealandAlso called (NZ): pakoko, titarakura, toitoi

Word Origin for bully

C20: short for cockabully

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

Word Origin and History for bullying
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper