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 This comes after accusations of bullying, harassment and abuse by current and former employees that were detailed in a recent expose published in the Hollywood Reporter. Zoe Christen Jones, CBS News, "Broadway actors protest for inclusion and removal of accused producer Scott Rudin," 24 Apr. 2021 The move follows an exposé in the Hollywood Reporter earlier this month that detailed allegations of physical and psychological workplace bullying by Rudin. Anousha Sakoui, Los Angeles Times, "Producers Guild forms task force and institutes training to tackle Hollywood bullying," 22 Apr. 2021 Yes, the kids in her books were White, suburban and middle class, but their struggles were universal: sibling rivalry, school bullying, worries about their parents. Washington Post, "Beverly Cleary, through Ramona, captured the essence of childhood," 27 Mar. 2021 That probe is looking into allegations that a pattern of bullying preceded the recent sleepover. Talia Richman, Dallas News, "Plano ISD concludes its investigation into racist bullying and abuse, will develop diversity and equity plan," 16 Mar. 2021 This piece connects those allegations to his office’s reported atmosphere of bullying and the scandal over misreporting nursing home COVID deaths. Claire Zillman, Fortune, "Can Karen Lynch vaccinate America?," 15 Mar. 2021 South Korea has been rocked in recent years by high-profile deaths of students following severe bullying by schoolmates. NBC News, "#MeToo-style reckoning over school bullying rocks South Korea," 14 Mar. 2021 Former staffers to Markle have accused her of bullying, and Buckingham Palace announced an investigation into the matter. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "British royal family responds to Prince Harry, Meghan Markle allegations about race and says they're 'concerning'," 9 Mar. 2021 Do-Bong-Soon, as well as the drama Angry Mom, which focused on school bullying. Joan Macdonald, Forbes, "‘River Where The Moon Rises’ Halts Filming Amid Bullying Allegations," 4 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But the school district, education groups, the Biden administration, and anti-bullying organizations said in court filings that the appeals court went too far. Mark Sherman, The Christian Science Monitor, "Supreme Court: Should schools regulate teens’ speech off-campus?," 26 Apr. 2021 But the school district, education groups, the Biden administration, and anti-bullying organizations said in court filings that the appeals court went too far. Fox News, "Student's Snapchat profanity leads to high court speech case," 26 Apr. 2021 An online module to aid conversations about anti-bias, anti-bullying, and hate. Linda Darling-hammond, Forbes, "Countering Racial Rhetoric And Violence By Stepping Up, Not Standing By," 21 Apr. 2021 Browning’s outlook and fueled her anti-bullying work. Victoria Uwumarogie, Essence, "Anti-Bullying Advocate Logan Browning Initially Didn't Want To Play Mean Girl Jelena On Hit The Floor," 20 Apr. 2021 The Academy focuses on topics like mental health, self esteem, anti-bullying and college and career readiness. Briana Rice, The Enquirer, "'Opens the door for a lot of kids': Local service organization Links celebrates 70 years," 13 Apr. 2021 Stow, who survived a traumatic brain injury and has spent the last decade spreading an anti-bullying message, threw out the first pitch, caught by Nakken. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "The Giants and Oracle Park feel different, but home opener gives hope for normalcy," 9 Apr. 2021 More recently, Betsy Levy Paluck worked with colleagues to develop an apparently effective anti-bullying strategy that relies on using students’ social networks. Jesse Singal, WSJ, "The False Promise of Quick-Fix Psychology," 9 Apr. 2021 The country was rebounding from a recession; divorce was on the rise; anti-bullying initiatives were as far in the future as the internet. Elisabeth Egan, New York Times, "Beverly Cleary Wrote About Real Life, and Her Readers Loved Her for It," 26 Mar. 2021

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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bullying.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bullying. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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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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