- 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
Examples from the Web for bullying
Removing choice is bullying and seems a horrid basis on which to anchor your relationship.Public Marriage Proposals Must Die
December 28, 2014
In light of the Michael Brown shooting, others have come forward to share their own stories of bullying, and harassment by police.Are College Educated Police Safer?
December 1, 2014
He recounts to her the bullying he receives at school, with classmates spitting on him as he walks down the halls.‘To Russia With Love’: Can Johnny Weir Save Russia’s Gays?
October 29, 2014
But The Source was also starting to develop a bullying reputation within the industry.It Was All a Dream: Drama, Bullshit, and the Rebirth of The Source Magazine
October 14, 2014
“No camp counter-productive with bullying and lies,” he wrote.Freeeeedom! Hollywood Fights for Scottish Independence
September 15, 2014
Grace's strategy was very clever, but Nora's bullying is all wrong.Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus
Jessie Graham Flower
She removed his clothes too, bullying him in a motherly way.L'Assommoir
He'll see at once that you'll not stand this sort of bullying.A Rent In A Cloud
Charles James Lever
"Your bullying does not terrify me in the least, Jasper Wilde," she said, calmly.Jolly Sally Pendleton
Laura Jean Libbey
"Saves up his strength for bullying his family," the judge rejoined.Peak and Prairie
- 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 bullying
1802, verbal noun from bully (v.).
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.