\ˈsäb \
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 \

Definition of SOB (Entry 3 of 3)

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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

Cole remembers Dajerria once calling her while sobbing because a teacher and McKinney police officer had shown the video of her arrest during a class at her high school. Andrea J. Ritchie, Teen Vogue, "Dajerria Becton Survived a Violent Arrest at a Pool Party and Went Viral," 19 June 2018 Near the hotel entrance, a woman sobbed on the ground, comforted by friends. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Shooting in Spenard parking lot leaves one person dead," 15 June 2018 After the final whistle, Karius sobbed his way to the Liverpool end of the stands with his hands up in apology, recognizing that things could have been so different. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Real Madrid Tops Liverpool in Champions League Final," 26 May 2018 Members of Coggins’ family, who have been in the courtroom every day of the trial, sobbed. Christian Boone, ajc, "Judge in cold case murder: ‘Hopefully, sir, you have stabbed your last victim’," 26 June 2018 ProPublica obtained audio on Monday of several children sobbing and crying for their parents and other family members at a border patrol facility in Texas. Julie Bogen, Vox, "6 things to read, listen to, and watch to understand family separation," 22 June 2018 Jeremy Valdez, 27, who wore a starched white western shirt and tan pants, sobbed softly during the proceedings. Brian Rogers, Houston Chronicle, "Tomball man enters into 50-year plea deal for killing three in drunk driving crash," 1 Feb. 2018 Sanders’ longtime friend, aide and chief of staff, Calvin Williford, sobbed after pleading guilty at a separate hearing earlier Friday to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Mike Hendricks And Steve Vockrodt, kansascity, "Mike Sanders, former aide to plead guilty to corruption charges | The Kansas City Star," 26 Jan. 2018 Upon its 1970 premiere, Love Story became a runaway international hit; audiences around the globe sobbed in darkened theaters. Lesley M.m. Blume, Town & Country, "Ali MacGraw on the Making of Love Story," 30 Aug. 2016

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 In the telephone call, a Chinese woman vents her despair between hoarse sobs. Chris Buckley And Melissa Eddy, New York Times, "Liu Xia, in Call From China, Tells of the Agony of Endless Captivity," 4 May 2018 Despite further pleas through screams and sobs, the family say the gun was not moved and that the child suffered a severe form of PTSD afterwards. Angela Helm, The Root, "Chicago PD Settle for $2.5 Million After Police Point Gun at 3-Year-Old," 4 July 2018 In the more than seven-minute call, the teen’s mother pleads with the dispatcher for help through sobs. Char Adams,, "Florida Teen Trapped in Tree After Alligator Chases Her Out of Water: She's 'Gonna Be Dead!'," 3 July 2018 An overflow crowd sought solace with laughter and funny memories and occasional sobs. David Mcfadden, Anchorage Daily News, "Suspect wrote he aimed to kill everyone at Maryland newsroom," 3 July 2018 Now and then, his sobs rose above the street noise. Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, "A Yemeni toddler fought for his life in a hospital while adults battled each other," 25 June 2018 Children as young as 5 sob uncontrollably in government dormitories. John D'anna, azcentral, "Think child separations are unprecedented? Here are 3 heartbreaking examples from history," 21 June 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

5 Nov 2018

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 \
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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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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