bully

noun (1)
bul·ly | \ ˈbu̇-lē , ˈbə- \
plural bullies

Definition of bully 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1a : a blustering, browbeating person especially : one who is habitually cruel, insulting, or threatening to others who are weaker, smaller, or in some way vulnerable tormented by the neighborhood bully

b : pimp

2 : a hired ruffian

3 archaic

a : sweetheart

b : a fine chap

bully

verb
bullied; bullying

Definition of bully (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to treat (someone) in a cruel, insulting, threatening, or aggressive fashion : to act like a bully toward bullied her younger brother

2 : to cause (someone) to do something by means of force or coercion was bullied into accepting their offer

intransitive verb

: to use language or behavior that is cruel, insulting, threatening, or aggressive

bully

adjective

Definition of bully (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : excellent often used in interjectional expressions bully for you

2 : resembling or characteristic of a bully his bully tricks

bully

noun (2)

Definition of bully (Entry 4 of 4)

food : pickled or canned usually corned beef

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Choose the Right Synonym for bully

Verb

intimidate, cow, bulldoze, bully, browbeat mean to frighten into submission. intimidate implies inducing fear or a sense of inferiority into another. intimidated by so many other bright freshmen cow implies reduction to a state where the spirit is broken or all courage is lost. not at all cowed by the odds against making it in show business bulldoze implies an intimidating or an overcoming of resistance usually by urgings, demands, or threats. bulldozed the city council into approving the plan bully implies intimidation through threats, insults, or aggressive behavior. bullied into giving up their lunch money browbeat implies a cowing through arrogant, scornful, or contemptuous treatment. browbeat the witness into a contradiction

bully Wasn't Always Negative

The earliest meaning of English bully was “sweetheart.” The word was probably borrowed from Dutch boel, “lover.” Later bully was used for anyone who seemed a good fellow, then for a blustering daredevil. Today, a bully is usually one whose claims to strength and courage are based on the intimidation of those who are weaker.

Examples of bully in a Sentence

Verb

He bullied his younger brothers. children who had been bullied by their father since infancy

Adjective

that's a bully idea for reviving the town's retail center
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First Known Use of bully

Noun (1)

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Verb

1693, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

1844, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1753, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bully

Noun (1)

probably from Middle Dutch boele lover; akin to Middle Low German bōle lover, Middle High German buole

Verb

see bully entry 1

Adjective

see bully entry 1

Noun (2)

probably modification of French (bœuf) boulli boiled beef

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Learn More about bully

Dictionary Entries near bully

bull wheel

bullwhip

bullwork

bully

bullyboy

bullyhuff

bullying

Statistics for bully

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bully

The first known use of bully was in 1538

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More Definitions for bully

bully

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of bully

 (Entry 1 of 2)

—used in phrases like bully for you to express approval or praise especially when the approval or praise is not sincere

bully

verb

English Language Learners Definition of bully (Entry 2 of 2)

: to frighten, hurt, or threaten (a smaller or weaker person) : to act like a bully toward (someone)

: to cause (someone) to do something by making threats or insults or by using force

bully

noun
bul·ly | \ ˈbu̇-lē \
plural bullies

Kids Definition of bully

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who teases, hurts, or threatens smaller or weaker persons

bully

verb
bullied; bullying

Kids Definition of bully (Entry 2 of 2)

: to tease, hurt, or threaten a smaller or weaker person : to act like a bully toward

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Comments on bully

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