\ 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

As the grieving family struggled with how to explain this to Marie, the youngster, who had witnessed sobbing visitors to her grandmother’s home, erupted in day care. Globe Staff,, "She’s been bounced through more than a dozen foster homes. And she’s just 6," 24 Aug. 2019 The two friends embraced at the net, and Auger-Aliassime broke down, sobbing into Shapovalov’s shoulder. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "Félix Auger-Aliassime Is Trying to Stay Calm," 24 Aug. 2019 In the end, the jury took a little over two hours before acquitting Cleaves on all counts, prompting him to leap into the arms of Frank Manley and sob loudly in court. John Wisely, Detroit Free Press, "How a Flint court battle became Mateen Cleaves' most divisive victory," 21 Aug. 2019 Volunteers distributed donated food and drinks but most children sobbed rather than ate, the station reported. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "With 680 undocumented immigrants arrested across Mississippi, one mayor asks 'What happens to the children?'," 8 Aug. 2019 Ramsey County District Judge Sara Grewing refused, and deputies took McClellan into custody as family members sobbed or stormed out of the courtroom. Sarah Horner, Twin Cities, "Guilty verdict in trial of 22-year-old man who assaulted man outside State Fair," 19 July 2019 As Judge Jeffrey Wagner read the verdict, Fricke put his head down on the defense table and sobbed. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Jordan Fricke found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide of Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Rittner," 12 July 2019 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

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

27 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

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


to make a temporary encampment

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