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

Trigger Warning: The following contains language related to bullying and suicidal ideation. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Pete Davidson's Instagram Post About Mental Health Is a Reminder Not to Harass Celebs Online," 17 Dec. 2018 Davidson is reminding us that our words matter and shining a very real connection between bullying and suicide—without spreading a harmful myth about it. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Why It's a Good Thing Pete Davidson Is Talking About His Suicidal Thoughts," 4 Dec. 2018 Its understanding of power, not of legal and legitimate authority, is reflected in bullying and imposition. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Trump trades fire with Iranian leader at UN General Assembly," 26 Sep. 2018 Weinstein reigned as one of Hollywood's top producers, known as much for his bullying and aggression as for his cinematic success. Author: Benjamin Mueller, Alan Feuer, Anchorage Daily News, "Charged with rape, Weinstein posts $1 million bail and surrenders passport," 25 May 2018 The student said she was forced to leave the school following bullying and retaliation. CBS News, "Former student files sex abuse lawsuit against St. Paul's School," 14 May 2018 Women are flooding Port's social media channels with support and their own stories about mom-bullying. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Whitney Port Shared an Emotional Video About Mom-Bullying That’s Got Many Women Talking," 29 Mar. 2019 Students from southeastern Wisconsin shared stories about bullying, mental health challenges, harming themselves and finding hope during a special storytelling gathering Thursday evening. Rory Linnane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee-area students share stories about mental health challenges," 3 May 2018 Ashbrook was fired by WBUR after 11 current and former station employees made complaints about bullying and inappropriate behavior that had spanned a decade. Yvonne Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, "Tom Ashbrook’s apology not accepted," 12 Apr. 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

8 Jun 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

What made you want to look up bullying? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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