\ 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

In one heartbreaking video captured by CNN affiliate WJTV, an 11-year-old girl sobs and begs for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to let her parents go. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "An 11-year-old girl pleads for her dad to be released," 8 Aug. 2019 Jurnee’s father, Michael Coleman, sobbed on Hilliard’s shoulder during the prayer. Howard Koplowitz |, al, "Jurnee Coleman, 4-year-old Birmingham girl shot in head by stray bullet, dies from injuries," 31 July 2019 Back in the downtown-L.A. theater the night of the premiere, the man on-screen is no longer sobbing. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "When a Lie Becomes Your Breakout Film," 14 July 2019 Dittman said in a Facebook post that another young man embraced him and sobbed into his arms. Hollie Silverman, CNN, "A man offered 'Dad Hugs' at a pride parade and he impacted a lot more people than he expected to," 17 June 2019 After another moment with his sister , Wallace sat at the dais sobbing into a towel. Tim Brown,, "Austin Dillon races to victory at 2018 Daytona 500," 19 Feb. 2018 After another moment with his sister, Wallace sat at the dais, sobbing into a towel. Jenna Fryer, Houston Chronicle, "Austin Dillon puts iconic No. 3 car back in Victory Lane at Daytona," 18 Feb. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Moments of silence at Rodriguez’s vigil were broken only for teenagers' sobs. Cassandra Jaramillo, Dallas News, "‘He did not deserve to die in this manner’: High school mourns 15-year-old El Paso shooting victim," 6 Aug. 2019 The girls communicate in songs and sobs, but is this apocalyptic tragedy even real? Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Ladyworld’ with Maya Hawke,’ plus Bud doc ‘Kings of Beer,’ ‘Consequences’ and ‘Moop’," 1 Aug. 2019 As Weber read the jury’s verdict on Tuesday, Hernandez’ sister, Maria Hernandez, broke out into sobs. Pauline Repard, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Transient found guilty of murder by arson in death of San Diego homeless man," 30 July 2019 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

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

13 Aug 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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a usually brief trip or an expedition

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