verb (used without object), sobbed, sob·bing.

to weep with a convulsive catching of the breath.
to make a sound resembling this.

verb (used with object), sobbed, sob·bing.

to utter with sobs.
to put, send, etc., by sobbing or with sobs: to sob oneself to sleep.


the act of sobbing; a convulsive catching of the breath in weeping.
any sound suggesting this.

Origin of sob

1150–1200; Middle English sobben, apparently imitative
Related formssob·ber, nounsob·bing·ly, adverbsob·ful, adjective


or SOB

(sometimes lowercase) Slang. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for sob

wail, whimper, bawl, weep, howl, blubber, snivel, lament, blub, boohoo

Examples from the Web for sob

Contemporary Examples of sob

Historical Examples of sob

  • Here she began to sob, as she fumbled at the door she could not see to open.

    The Little Colonel

    Annie Fellows Johnston

  • She stopped breathlessly, with a break in her voice that sounded just short of a sob.

    Questionable Shapes

    William Dean Howells

  • It answered with a little exclamation, with a sob following close upon it.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • Failing that, she began to sob angrily without any tears in her wide eyes.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • And there are some things which are,' he stopped to sob, 'irreconcilable with that, and wound that—wound it deeply.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for sob


verb sobs, sobbing or sobbed

(intr) to weep with convulsive gasps
(tr) to utter with sobs
to cause (oneself) to be in a specified state by sobbingto sob oneself to sleep


a convulsive gasp made in weeping
Derived Formssobber, nounsobbing, noun, adjective

Word Origin for sob

C12: probably from Low German; compare Dutch sabben to suck


abbreviation for

son of a bitch
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 sob

c.1200, "to cry with short breaths," probably of imitative origin, related to Old English seofian "to lament," Old High German sufan "to draw breath," West Frisian sobje "to suck." Related: Sobbed; sobbing.


late 14c., from sob (v.). Sob story is from 1913. Sob sister "female journalist who writes sentimental stories or advice columns" is from 1912.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper