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

After the lawsuit was filed last month, the university clarified and standardized its definitions of bullying and harassment, deleting the dictionary definitions and relying on state law, Mr. Fitzgerald said. Anemona Hartocollis, New York Times, "Trump Administration Challenges University of Michigan Anti-Bullying Rules," 11 June 2018 And a law firm has been hired by the city to investigate complaints of bullying and harassment at the agency. Daniel Bice, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee IDs two finalists for the next commissioner of the city's troubled Health Department," 8 June 2018 Will the school be held accountable for the bullying and harassment? Kristin Koch, Seventeen, "Here’s What Happens to Alex in “13 Reasons Why” Season 2," 18 May 2018 Locked accounts aren’t the ones engaging in bullying, racist and sexist comments, and personal attacks on Twitter. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Twitter’s wiping tens of millions of accounts from its platform," 11 July 2018 Politicians, parents' groups, and the media have long blamed them for all sorts of societal problems—addiction, violence, bullying, the list goes on. Ryan Smith, Chicago Reader, "News / Technology / The Internet Video games are public enemy #1 . . . again," 19 June 2018 Those resources include a standalone website with links to the Crisis Text Line, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and other sites that offer support for bullying, anxiety, depression and substance abuse prevention. Raisa Bruner, Time, "13 Reasons Why Divided the Internet. Here's How Netflix Is Addressing the Controversy Ahead of Season 2," 16 May 2018 That is something that should inspire shame not in Monica, but in everyone who took part in the bullying of Monica Lewinsky. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "We All Owe Monica Lewinsky an Apology," 9 July 2018 At some point the bullying turns into a wall of noise. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Adds #MeToo Movement Jab to Unhinged Rally Repertoire," 6 July 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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Dictionary Entries near bullying







bully pulpit

Statistics for bullying

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

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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

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