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bul·​ly·​ing ˈbu̇-lē-iŋ How to pronounce bullying (audio)
: 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 bullyingMichael Holroyd
… underestimates the plain meanness behind the pleasure people take in bullying.George F. Will


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: 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
Having Alexa as a trigger for a voice command around the house can lead to children with that name becoming the butt of jokes and bullying. Hannah Nwoko, Parents, 31 May 2024 The investigation by the Office for Civil Rights found the K-12 charter school allowed the bullying to continue despite knowing about it. Rebecca Noel, Charlotte Observer, 30 May 2024
The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham has reached out about providing funding for mental health and anti-bullying programs, and the board has also received offers from external agencies to help with their threat assessment protocol, DeShazo said. al, 4 Oct. 2022 Her anti-bullying campaign, Be Best, was a blur. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, 19 July 2022 See all Example Sentences for bullying 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bullying.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1742, in the meaning defined above


1746, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bullying was in 1742

Dictionary Entries Near bullying

Cite this Entry

“Bullying.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bullying. Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

Legal Definition


ˈbu̇-lē-iŋ, bə-
: 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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