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verb (used without object), sobbed, sob·bing.
  1. to weep with a convulsive catching of the breath.
  2. to make a sound resembling this.
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verb (used with object), sobbed, sob·bing.
  1. to utter with sobs.
  2. to put, send, etc., by sobbing or with sobs: to sob oneself to sleep.
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  1. the act of sobbing; a convulsive catching of the breath in weeping.
  2. any sound suggesting this.
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Origin of sob

1150–1200; Middle English sobben, apparently imitative
Related formssob·ber, nounsob·bing·ly, adverbsob·ful, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for sobbing


verb sobs, sobbing or sobbed
  1. (intr) to weep with convulsive gasps
  2. (tr) to utter with sobs
  3. to cause (oneself) to be in a specified state by sobbingto sob oneself to sleep
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  1. a convulsive gasp made in weeping
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Derived Formssobber, nounsobbing, noun, adjective

Word Origin

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



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.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper