bul·​ly·​ing | \ ˈbu̇-lē-iŋ How to pronounce bullying (audio) , 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 teen switched schools, but eventually transitioned to homeschooling when the bullying followed her to her new high school, according to the suit. Lillian Reed, baltimoresun.com, "Lawsuit says Towson’s Concordia Preparatory School ignored student’s reports of assault, harassment on campus," 29 Oct. 2020 Finally, Validation The topic of workplace bullying has been bubbling up more and more recently. Jessica Press, Redbook, "Women Need to Know They Don't Have to Take Bullying in the Workplace," 19 Sep. 2018 Lu-Culligan met Iwasaki at a luncheon for women in science at Yale, while struggling with bullying and harassment in another lab. Jennifer Couzin-frankel, Science | AAAS, "‘Every minute counts.’ This immunologist rapidly reshaped her lab to tackle COVID-19," 27 Oct. 2020 In the former case, the Justice Department uncovered a vast trove of emails affirming Microsoft’s bullying behavior, particularly in extorting computer companies to use its browser. Steven Levy, Wired, "The Anticlimax of the Google Antitrust Suit," 20 Oct. 2020 The New York Yankees are proud to stand against bullying and support LGBTQ+ youth. NBC News, "Spirit Day 2020: Celebs, lawmakers, athletes send messages to LGBTQ youth," 15 Oct. 2020 This isn't the first time that the duchess has opened up about her experience with online trolling and bullying in the press. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Opens Up About the "Almost Unsurvivable" Online Abuse She's Faced," 11 Oct. 2020 Last month a judge ruled that the duchess can keep secret the names of five close friends who defended her anonymously in an American magazine against alleged U.K. media bullying. Jill Lawless, chicagotribune.com, "Meghan’s lawyers deny she cooperated with royal book authors," 21 Sep. 2020 Last month a judge ruled that the duchess can keep secret the names of five close friends who defended her anonymously in People magazine against alleged U.K. media bullying. Jill Lawless, USA TODAY, "Duchess Meghan’s lawyers deny she cooperated with authors of 'Finding Freedom' book," 21 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective As an actor and voice-over artist, Tako has acted in films, television and commercials, including suicide prevention and anti-bullying public service announcements. Sam Boyer, cleveland, "Author Stephen Tako’s hairy blue character helps children learn to cope and care," 12 Nov. 2020 Months after Tyler’s death, Gov. Chris Christie signed an anti-bullying law with bipartisan support in the state Legislature that is considered the toughest in the country. Hannan Adely, USA TODAY, "10 years after son's suicide, Tyler Clementi's mom says no LGBTQ person should feel 'unworthy'," 23 Sep. 2020 The 2020 Dawn Staley Community Leadership winner is actively involved with helping organizations that focus on mental health, anti-bullying and suicide prevention. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, "Fever's Natalie Achonwa offers look inside WNBA's 48-hour stoppage, fight against racial injustice," 2 Sep. 2020 Midler tweeted during the First Lady's speech from the remodeled White House Rose Garden on Tuesday, referencing Mrs. Trump's signature anti-bullying campaign catchphrase. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "Bette Midler Apologizes For Mocking Melania Trump's Accent," 27 Aug. 2020 Anti-bullying advocates who spoke with The Republic agreed with Rojas' perspective, saying the key to stopping cyberbullying is parents who take an active role in their child's life while fostering open, nonjudgmental conversations. Brieanna J. Frank, The Arizona Republic, "Mesa family didn't know 10-year-old girl was being cyberbullied until after she killed herself," 6 Aug. 2020 The organization collaborates with the Arizona Department of Health Services to provide anti-bullying materials and trainings. Brieanna J. Frank, The Arizona Republic, "Mesa family didn't know 10-year-old girl was being cyberbullied until after she killed herself," 6 Aug. 2020 All Scouts participate in anti-bullying training and learn to live by the Scout Law, a foundational element of Scouting that includes 12 guiding characteristics that include being helpful, trustworthy and kind. Dallas News, "Making the world a better place: how the Boy Scouts of America address bullying concerns among Gen Z," 5 Aug. 2020 On Friday, Lauren Hogg, a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, took to Twitter to ask Trump to make sure her anti-bullying message is reaching those closest to her, too. Redbook, "Melania Trump Calls on Parents to Encourage "Positive Habits on Social Media"," 27 Feb. 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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Time Traveler for bullying

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The first known use of bullying was in 1742

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Statistics for bullying

Last Updated

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bullying.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bullying. Accessed 26 Nov. 2020.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bullying

Nglish: Translation of bullying for Spanish Speakers

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