bul·​ly·​ing | \ ˈbu̇-lē-iŋ, ˈbə-\

Definition of bullying

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger, more powerful, etc. : the actions and behavior of a bully Her own childhood had been made miserable by bullying— Michael Holroyd … underestimates the plain meanness behind the pleasure people take in bullying.— George F. Will



Definition of bullying (Entry 2 of 2)

: prone to or characterized by overbearing mistreatment and domination of others … dominated the program but did so in a bullying manner that made him appear crabbier and more churlish than ever.— Tom Shales At his worst, he was just another loud, boorish, bullying … drunk …— Bartholomew Gill The bullying husband is … living out a way of being that he learned at home as a child.— Robert Karen

Examples of bullying in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The ugly persecution of minority religious and ethnic groups, the suppression of dissent, and the bullying of smaller nations are also part of the American indictment. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "The Twilight of Human-Rights Diplomacy," 17 Dec. 2018 Depression, anxiety and increased feelings of sadness and loneliness can all effects of bullying, according to StopBullying.gov. Gabrielle Sorto, Teen Vogue, "This Woman Had Her Thumb Amputated Because of Cancer Reportedly Caused By Biting Her Nails," 7 Sep. 2018 While some situations are easier to identify than others, any type of bullying is not OK. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "8 Girls Get Real About Their Bullying Horror Stories," 25 July 2018 Antonios Pagourtzis, the father of the suspected shooter, told the Wall Street Journal his son was a victim of bullying. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "Houston Rockets give free NBA playoff tickets to Santa Fe students," 23 May 2018 With reports that the shooter may have a victim of bullying, the incident worries Georgie Teer, a 73-year old grandmother who graduated from Santa Fe High School. Y.c. Orozco, Houston Chronicle, "Texas school shooting: Residents react in Santa Fe," 18 May 2018 Responding to claims of bullying, Truaxe deleted the post and apologized. Kathleen Hou, The Cut, "Deciem CEO Brandon Truaxe Continues to Worry Fans, Lays Off Entire U.S. Staff," 4 Apr. 2018 Online bullying was brought up when Whoopi mentioned that Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson was getting attacked after his breakup with Ariana Grande. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'The View' Star Abby Huntsman Got “More Hate Than I've Ever Seen” After Joining the Show," 7 Dec. 2018 Grade-School Update: Allergy Bullying Is Real One out of three children with food allergies has been a victim of food bullying, according to FARE statistics. Jessica Migala, Woman's Day, "How to Keep Your Kids Safe From Food Allergies," 19 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bullying.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bullying


1742, in the meaning defined above


1746, in the meaning defined above

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Learn More about bullying

Dictionary Entries near bullying







bully pulpit

Statistics for bullying

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bullying

The first known use of bullying was in 1742

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More Definitions for bullying


bul·​ly·​ing | \ ˈbu̇-lē-iŋ, bə-\

Legal Definition of bullying

: acts or written or spoken words intended to intimidate or harass a person or to cause physical harm to a person or his or her property — see also cyberbullying

Note: The statutory language used to describe what constitutes bullying differs from state to state.

More from Merriam-Webster on bullying

Nglish: Translation of bullying for Spanish Speakers

Comments on bullying

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a complex dispute or argument

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