\ 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

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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 In the theater, as Hugo’s tale of oppression, liberation and redemption unfolded, audiences were moved nightly to sob and scream. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "Herbert Kretzmer, Lyricist for ‘Les Misérables,’ Dies at 95," 14 Oct. 2020 Place a glass of wine between your hands and sob uncontrollably. Jiji Lee, The New Yorker, "Easy Exercises to Get Your Body Election-Day Ready," 9 Oct. 2020 Clay begins to sob as Bryce also appears to him to call Clay a monster. Martha Sorren,, "13 Reasons Why," 8 June 2020 Sergine rested her forehead on the steering wheel and began to sob. Washington Post, "The pandemic hit and this car became home for a family of four.," 6 June 2020 As the time went on, many people in the room began to loudly sob, including members of Floyd’s family., "Sharpton decries oppression of Black Americans at George Floyd’s memorial," 4 June 2020 Khamenei would read the Quran aloud and sob, lost in the words of the Prophet, or simply peer at the sky through the bars of his cell. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, "The Twilight of the Iranian Revolution," 18 May 2020 Meghan sobbed on FaceTime with her brother’s wife, Jackie Beckley. Kristina Goetz, The Courier-Journal, "'It felt like my bones were breaking': Nurse with coronavirus thought she was going to die," 21 Apr. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Trouble is, there’s no easy way to make men better at working with women (lol/sob). Megan Greenwell, Wired, "Help! A Male Colleague Thinks I’m Scary," 12 May 2021 Kneeling women in uniform sob into their hands and handkerchiefs. New York Times, "Korean Art Goes on Show, With Protests From North and South," 5 May 2021 His skinny shoulders slumped into a sob his foster mother couldn’t hear. Michael E. Miller, Washington Post, "His Guatemalan parents sent him to the U.S. for a better life. Then they wanted their 9-year-old back.," 6 Apr. 2021 Instead, many of the victims post their experiences online, joining a community that exchanges tips, alerts, cautionary tales, and sob stories in YouTube comments and Quora answers. Snigdha Poonam, The Atlantic, "The People Profiting Off the Pandemic in India," 16 Jan. 2021 Luckily, there are less sob-fest parts of the movie, too. Bianca Rodriguez, Marie Claire, "35 Sad Movies for When You Need Something to Cry About," 29 Sep. 2020 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," 10 Aug. 2020 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," 10 Aug. 2020 While not nearly as sob-worthy as, say, The Fault in Our Stars, this film will still leave you gasping and reaching for Kleenex. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "41 Sad Movies to Watch on Netflix for When You Need a Good Cry," 23 June 2020

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

Cite this Entry

“Sob.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on sob

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sob

Nglish: Translation of sob for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sob for Arabic Speakers

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