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

In 2017, 30 million American workers were targets of bullying — 65% of them were women. Jessica Press, Redbook, "Women Need to Know They Don't Have to Take Bullying in the Workplace," 19 Sep. 2018 Patel and his fellow Verge editors expanded on this statement in a scathing condemnation of the bullying tactics being used by Jeong’s detractors. Aja Romano, Vox, "The “controversy” over journalist Sarah Jeong joining the New York Times, explained," 3 Aug. 2018 Nora's mother, Sandy Nissenbaum, found out about the bullying in March. Alexandra Villarreal, The Christian Science Monitor, "In wake of shootings, schools grapple with how to handle violent threats," 17 May 2018 In February, parents packed a board meeting to express concerns over school security, and at least two parents complained about ongoing bullying at Central Middle School. Bob Sandrick, cleveland.com, "Brecksville-Broadview Heights school board wants to stop personal attacks on Facebook," 24 Apr. 2018 Among other things, Twitter adopted new policies aimed at protecting women who unknowingly or unwillingly had nude pictures of themselves distributed online — a common bullying tactic. Darlene Superville, BostonGlobe.com, "Melania Trump vows to fight cyberbullying despite skeptics," 20 Mar. 2018 Among other things, Twitter adopted new policies aimed at protecting women who unknowingly or unwillingly had nude pictures of themselves distributed online – a common bullying tactic. Darlene Superville, USA TODAY, "Melania Trump to host cyberbullying, Internet safety event," 20 Mar. 2018 Councilmembers passed the resolution, in part, to raise awareness about bullying. Cameron Knight, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati: 'Where every street has two names'," 22 Jan. 2018 Raising awareness about cyber-bullying is a noble cause, but this collection—and its rollout—unfortunately detracted from the issue. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Online Retailer Revolve Removes Sweatshirts From Its Website After Accusations of Fat-Shaming," 12 Sep. 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

7 Dec 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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