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 Jackie Congedo, the director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, told The Enquirer by email that there's been a recent uptick in reports of anti-Semitic bullying in local schools. Max Londberg, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati center, the only dedicated Holocaust museum in Ohio, combats growing anti-Semitism," 13 Feb. 2020 The #WomenInTheMix anniversary comes at a complicated time for the Recording Academy, whose CEO Deborah Dugan was placed on administrative leave in January ahead of the 2020 Grammy Awards after allegations of misconduct and bullying. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Recording Academy Spotlights Lack of Female Music Producers in Powerful New Video: Exclusive," 7 Feb. 2020 China’s bullying ought to be intolerable amid the coronavirus outbreak. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "China’s Taiwan Quarantine," 4 Feb. 2020 Two regional school districts are jointly hosting a series of six events for parents and other community members on mental health and bullying. John Laidler, BostonGlobe.com, "Free events will address mental health, bullying," 21 Jan. 2020 Mike Landsiedel, a Teamsters official who represents administrators and secretaries, told the Free Press on Monday that the concerns included verbal abuse and bullying-like behavior. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "Superintendent of Richmond Community Schools accused of mistreating employees," 7 Jan. 2020 Leguizamo says his one-man show began as a research project, looking to provide his son with Latin heroes in history, after the eighth-grader was the target of ethnic bullying. Ben Crandell, sun-sentinel.com, "Thanksgiving Weekend preview: Champagne, Beer and Fried Oreos Edition," 26 Nov. 2019 Cooper’s ouster followed multiple allegations of bullying, which led the university to launch a probe and suspend him in August. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "Bullying allegations lead to firing of prominent ancient DNA expert," 20 Dec. 2019 The Villager received numerous tips from readers and others alleging various actions, including claims of bullying, theft of campaign signs and inappropriate comments. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Woodlands board candidates lament negativity, shenanigans at polling places," 12 Nov. 2019

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

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bullying.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bullying. Accessed 27 Feb. 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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