\ ˈsäb How to pronounce sob (audio) \
sobbed; sobbing

Definition of sob

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : to catch the breath audibly in a spasmodic contraction of the throat
b : to cry or weep with convulsive catching of the breath
2 : to make a sound like that of a sob or sobbing

transitive verb

1 : to bring to a specified state by sobbing sobbed himself to sleep
2 : to utter with sobs sobbed out her grief


noun (1)

Definition of sob (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : an act of sobbing
2 : a sound like that of a sob


noun (2)
\ ˌes-ˌō-ˈbē How to pronounce SOB (audio) \
plural SOBs or SOB's

Definition of SOB (Entry 3 of 3)

slang, sometimes offensive
: son of a bitch He's one arrogant/tough/greedy SOB. … a guy who brought two dozen roses to a first coffee date and told you he felt like the luckiest SOB on the planet in the first five minutes.Today

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Synonyms for sob

Synonyms: Verb

bawl, blub [chiefly British], blubber, cry, weep

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Examples of sob in a Sentence


He began to sob uncontrollably. She could not stop sobbing. “I hate you,” she sobbed.

Noun (2)

I hate that miserable SOB.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Some people yelled out from their cars; some on the sidewalk sobbed with joy. Madeleine Wattenbarger, The New Republic, "Did the Mexican People Really Win?," 5 July 2019 As the woman sobbed on a front lawn, the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office prepared to remove one of the victims’ bodies from the driver’s seat of the SUV. Emily Lane,, "Authorities ID man accused in 2 Metairie shootings that killed 3 in 24 hours," 19 June 2019 As the bodies were taken away, Tania Ramirez, the wife can be heard sobbing. Omar Villafranca, CBS News, ""I hate it": Trump and lawmakers react to tragic photo of migrant father and daughter," 26 June 2019 The masked robber points a gun in my face and shuffles me and a sobbing woman into a back room. Aric Jenkins, Fortune, "The Fall and Rise of VR: The Struggle to Make Virtual Reality Get Real," 20 June 2019 Local media showed mothers sobbing, parents running alongside gurneys transporting their babies, and droves of parents entering the hospital premises with children in their arms, asking for help. Swati Gupta, CNN, "Child death toll from brain disease crosses 100 in India as parents protest," 18 June 2019 Guns were drawn on the pregnant mom, a screaming 1-year-old on her hip and the sobbing 4-year-old. Karina Bland, azcentral, "How can a 4-year-old trust police when she sees guns aimed at her family?," 17 June 2019 Humans identify suffering in other humans by universal signs: People sob, wince, cry out, put voice to their hurt. Natasha Daly, National Geographic, "Suffering unseen: The dark truth behind wildlife tourism," 12 June 2019 She was later found sitting in the living room, sobbing. Kyle Hopkins, ProPublica, "ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network," 16 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Perez works as a social worker in Minneapolis and said students with undocumented family members have broken down in sobs on the days their parents or other family members attend hearings about their immigration status. Dana Ferguson, Twin Cities, "Migrant crisis prompts call to action more than 1,000 miles north of the border," 28 June 2019 Right there, in the woman’s hands, clasped tenderly around her neighbor’s ribcage as if to suture a gashing sob, those downcast eyes that wouldn’t reach yours, those faces only known from the side. Emmanuel Iduma, The New York Review of Books, "‘Gone Like a Meteor’: Epitaph for the Lost Youth of the Biafran War," 30 May 2019 One scene in the sob-inducing show featured Jack and Randall at a dojo, where the instructor had Jack do push-ups with his son on his back -- and refusing to stop. CNN, "Here's to some of our favorite TV dads," 14 June 2019 Against the high, echoing ceiling of the church, the smallest sounds are magnified—the creaking of the battered pews, the rustling of paper, stifled sobs. Nathaniel Penn, Popular Mechanics, "The Day the Town Blew Up," 3 June 2019 The level of intelligence and grace the writers used to create scenes that portrayed such complex layers of grief knocked me to my knees in sobs. Sarah Chaves, Glamour, "This Is Us Gets So Many Things Right—But I Think It Takes the Easy Route With Grief," 2 Apr. 2019 Weepiness Level: Quiet, heaving sobs for two minutes. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "15 Sad Movies for When You Need Something to Cry About," 3 Oct. 2018 Right now, our hearts are big and raw and sore from the absence of him, and my memories block out the reality of most days bringing choking sobs every night. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Radio Host Delilah Opens Up About Losing Her Teenage Son to Suicide In New Memoir," 22 Oct. 2018 Donelda Pulex stepped off the airplane into the sun, clutching her 5-year-old daughter's hand and burst into heaving sobs. Colleen Long, The Christian Science Monitor, "Families reunited, then deported to Guatemala," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sob.' 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 sob


13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1918, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sob


Middle English sobben; akin to Middle Low German sabben to drool

Noun (2)

son of a bitch

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Statistics for sob

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sob

The first known use of sob was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for sob



English Language Learners Definition of sob

: to cry noisily while taking in short, sudden breaths
: to say (something) while sobbing


\ ˈsäb How to pronounce sob (audio) \
sobbed; sobbing

Kids Definition of sob

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to cry noisily with short sudden breaths I sobbed uncontrollably.
2 : to say while crying noisily She sobbed out the story.



Kids Definition of sob (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or the sound of crying loudly with short sudden breaths Hearing this, Wilbur threw himself down … Great sobs racked his body.— E. B. White, Charlotte's Web

Medical Definition of SOB

short of breath

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More from Merriam-Webster on sob

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sob

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sob

Spanish Central: Translation of sob

Nglish: Translation of sob for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sob for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sob

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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