\ 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

After the Senate approved the bill 27-11, sending it to the governor, some protesters in the gallery began to sob. Alexei Koseff,, "California limits vaccine medical exemptions as protests disrupt Legislature," 9 Sep. 2019 When DeFerrari showed Kwon a picture of her mother on her deathbed, Kwon identified the photo but then began to sob uncontrollably. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, "‘It is a real human phenomenon’: East Bay murder suspect was necrophiliac, not killer, defense says," 6 Sep. 2019 Alli sobbed fitfully, the grim reality of loss crashing down in waves. Nick Heil, Outside Online, "The Tragedy on Howse Peak," 28 Aug. 2019 Families sob and squabble and speechify to camera, but there are also educational infographics and maps showing responses sailing in from all over the world. Emma Grey Ellis, WIRED, "Reality TV Meets Crowdsourced Medicine in Netflix's Diagnosis," 16 Aug. 2019 As the seven-hour mark drew near, Lopez sat with Stephen Daldry on a staircase at the rear of the orchestra, sobbing. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "How Matthew Lopez Transformed “Howards End” Into an Epic Play About Gay Life," 2 Sep. 2019 Women sobbing in a crowded cell because they were separated from their kids. Catherine Kim, Vox, "“People drinking out of toilets”: AOC and other Democrats share details from their Texas border facility tour," 2 July 2019 Donna Markham recounted how her then-12-year-old daughter Chelsey began sobbing in the car as they were headed home after a session with Nassar. Time, "Parents of Gymnasts Sexually Abused by Larry Nassar Say They'll 'Never Get Rid of the Guilt'," 27 Jan. 2018 Donna Markham recounted how her then-12-year-old daughter Chelsey began sobbing in the car as they were headed home after a session with Nassar. CBS News, "Parents of gymnasts feel guilt, wonder how they missed sexual abuse," 27 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Or, perhaps, the sobs stem from the X-factor that ties it all together: music., "A History of Football in 100 Objects," 28 Aug. 2019 The footage, which includes the sobs of her daughter, emerged Friday and set off a firestorm in Turkey, where rights groups say violence against women is common. Erin Cunningham, Washington Post, "Video of woman stabbed by ex-husband revives domestic violence debate in Turkey," 23 Aug. 2019 Ortiz explained, eliciting sobs from a member of the courtroom audience. Sarah Dowling, The Mercury News, "Jury finds man guilty of murder of Northern California massage parlor employee," 3 Aug. 2019 Through frantic sobs, delivery man David Gonzalez begged a 911 dispatcher to send police to the home of a woman who’d been beaten and set afire in her laundry room, a recording released Wednesday by police shows. Andrew Boryga,, "911 call released in deadly attack on Boca Raton woman: ‘I heard a lot of screaming’," 21 Aug. 2019 Singalongs, often pressed through sobs, are unavoidable. Daniel Hernández, New York Times, "‘Amor Eterno’ Rings Out at Mass Shooting Vigils," 6 Aug. 2019 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

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

8 Oct 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

What made you want to look up sob? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


fear of the number 13

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