\ 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

Definition of sob (Entry 2 of 3)

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

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Examples of sob in a Sentence

Verb 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 Loud sobbing reported from under reverend Bayes' grave stone. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Experts demolish studies suggesting COVID-19 is no worse than flu," 24 Apr. 2020 Sandi was still sobbing when medics loaded her into an ambulance., "‘Why did you do that to me?’," 23 Sep. 2019 Virtually every little kid in a shopping cart was sobbing. Bulletin Board, Twin Cities, "Sunday Bulletin Board: There’s always something new to find in this ordinary old farmhouse," 16 June 2019 The footage shows Orlando, Florida, police officer Dennis Turner arresting a sobbing young girl in September 2019, restraining her arms with zip ties. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, "Video shows police officer arresting 6-year-old girl at Florida school," 25 Feb. 2020 What can’t be kept out is noise from neighboring tents: hacking coughs, sobbing, domestic arguments, screaming, moans, and groans. Patrick Strickland, The New York Review of Books, "After the EU Turned Greece into a Refugee Warehouse, a Backlash," 4 Mar. 2020 Laura’s young daughter Mia (Lia McHugh) sobs over the fate of her soul. Kaitlin Reilly,, "The Bleak Ending Of The Lodge, Explained," 7 Feb. 2020 Collapsing into her colleague’s arms, Bailey sobs—as did I. Later Webber brings Meredith in to comfort her friend with a box of tissues and a box of donuts. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Dr. Bailey’s Monologue About Miscarriage on Grey’s Anatomy Has People Talking," 24 Jan. 2020 Later along the highway, a mother sobbed after realizing her youngest daughter had been separated when migrants tried to escape authorities. Maria Verza, Sonia Perez, Anchorage Daily News, "Migrants hoping to reach US run up against Mexican forces at Guatemala border," 21 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun My toddler face-planted on the asphalt in front of our house, and my sobs over the tumble lasted longer than his. Beth Spotswood,, "Our mental state gets strained in times of crisis — and it happens to a lot of us," 22 Apr. 2020 Terrified of what would happen if white vigilantes heard them, fugitive mothers suffocated their crying babies, then choked back their own sobs. Caitlin Fitz, The Atlantic, "Conquerors Armed With Spreadsheets," 8 Apr. 2020 Loud, unguarded sobs that made her face flush and her shoulders heave. Laila Lalami,, "Who gets to be an American? Laila Lalami explores in California thriller," 3 July 2019 In keeping with my embarrassing history of crying in school, my most humiliating sob was as an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Maureen Stanton, Longreads, "Through a Glass, Tearfully," 17 Jan. 2020 Christle discusses a moth species that sups on elephant tears; why plane travellers sob in the air; the difference between basal, irritant, and psychogenic eye water. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "“The Crying Book” Reveals How Tears Can Help Us, and How They Can’t," 8 Jan. 2020 His mother broke into sobs when the judge announced he would be held at a detention center until Dec. 16, the station reported. Fox News, "Florida boy, 13, accused of fatally stabbing grandmother appears in court," 26 Nov. 2019 The three minutes of silence as the names rolled at Greasepaint Youtheatre in Scottsdale on a Sunday afternoon was broken by sobs from the audience. Karina Bland, azcentral, "Young actors tell the story of a mass shooting, but it's the adults who feel the pain," 13 Sep. 2019 As cheers and little sobs filled the air, the performer Adrienne C. Moore informed us about the happy and slightly disconcerting coincidence, and led us in a moment of silence. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, "An Ecstatic Revival of Ntozake Shange’s “for colored girls”," 28 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for sob

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sob

Last Updated

20 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sob.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for sob


How to pronounce SOB (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sob

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sob

Spanish Central: Translation of sob

Nglish: Translation of sob for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sob for Arabic Speakers

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