What does bully mean?

Definitions for bully
ˈbʊl ibul·ly

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word bully.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. bully, tough, hooligan, ruffian, roughneck, rowdy, yob, yobo, yobbonoun

    a cruel and brutal fellow

  2. bullyadjective

    a hired thug

  3. bang-up, bully, corking, cracking, dandy, great, groovy, keen, neat, nifty, not bad(p), peachy, slap-up, swell, smashingverb

    very good

    "he did a bully job"; "a neat sports car"; "had a great time at the party"; "you look simply smashing"

  4. strong-arm, bully, browbeat, bullyrag, ballyrag, boss around, hector, push aroundverb

    be bossy towards

    "Her big brother always bullied her when she was young"

  5. browbeat, bully, swaggerverb

    discourage or frighten with threats or a domineering manner; intimidate


  1. bullynoun

    A person who is cruel to others, especially those who are weaker or have less power.

  2. bullynoun

    A hired thug.

  3. bullynoun

    A prostitute's minder; a pimp.

  4. bullynoun

    Bully beef.

  5. bullynoun

    The penis.

  6. bullyverb

    To intimidate (someone) as a bully.

    You shouldn't bully people for being gay

  7. bullyverb

    To act aggressively towards.

  8. bullyadjective

    Very good; excellent.

  9. bullyinterjection

    Well done!

    She's finally leaving her abusive husband uE000186484uE001 bully for her!

  10. Etymology: 1530, from boel, from boel, from bō-lan- (compare bole, buole, German Buhle), diminutive of expressive *bō- (“brother, father”). More at boy.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Bullynoun

    A noisy, blustering, quarrelling fellow: it is generally taken for a man that has only the appearance of courage.

    Etymology: Stephen Skinner derives this word from burly, as a corruption in the pronunciation; which is very probably right: or from bulky, or bull-eyed; which are less probable. May it not come from bull, the pope's letter, implying the insolence of those who came invested with authority from the papal court?

    Mine host of the garter. —— What says my bully rock? Speak scholarly and wisely. William Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor.

    All on a sudden the doors flew open, and in comes a crew of roaring bullies, with their wenches, their dogs, and their bottles. Roger L'Estrange, Fables.

    ’Tis so ridic’lous, but so true withal,
    A bully cannot sleep without a brawl. John Dryden, Juv sat. iii.

    A scolding hero is, at the worst, a more tolerable character than a bully in petticoats. Joseph Addison, Freeholder, №. 38.

    The little man is a bully in his nature, but, when he grows cholerick, I confine him till his wrath is over. Joseph Addison, Spect.

  2. To Bullyverb

    To overbear with noise or menaces.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    Prentices, parish clerks, and hectors meet,
    He that is drunk, or bully’d, pays the treat. William King, Cookery.

  3. To Bullyverb

    To be noisy and quarrelsome.


  1. bully

    Bullying is the use of force, coercion, hurtful teasing or threat, to abuse, aggressively dominate or intimidate. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception (by the bully or by others) of an imbalance of physical or social power. This imbalance distinguishes bullying from conflict. Bullying is a subcategory of aggressive behavior characterized by hostile intent, imbalance of power and repetition over a period of time. Bullying is the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another individual, physically, mentally or emotionally. Bullying can be done individually or by a group, called mobbing, in which the bully may have one or more followers who are willing to assist the primary bully or who reinforce the bully by providing positive feedback such as laughing. Bullying in school and the workplace is also referred to as "peer abuse". Robert W. Fuller has analyzed bullying in the context of rankism. The Swedish-Norwegian researcher Dan Olweus says bullying occurs when a person is "exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons", and that negative actions occur "when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, through words or in other ways". Individual bullying is usually characterized by a person behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person.A bullying culture can develop in any context in which humans interact with each other. This may include school, family, the workplace, the home, and neighborhoods. The main platform for bullying in contemporary culture is on social media websites. In a 2012 study of male adolescent American football players, "the strongest predictor [of bullying] was the perception of whether the most influential male in a player's life would approve of the bullying behavior." A study by The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health in 2019 showed a relationship between social media use by girls and an increase in their exposure to bullying.Bullying may be defined in many different ways. In the United Kingdom, there is no legal definition of bullying, while some states in the United States have laws against it. Bullying is divided into four basic types of abuse – psychological (sometimes called emotional or relational), verbal, physical, and cyber.Behaviors used to assert such domination may include physical assault or coercion, verbal harassment, or threat, and such acts may be directed repeatedly toward particular targets. Rationalizations of such behavior sometimes include differences of social class, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, behavior, body language, personality, reputation, lineage, strength, size, or ability.


  1. bully

    A bully is an individual who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate others, particularly those perceived as weaker or more vulnerable. This behavior can often involve physical aggression, threats, coercion or attempts to dominate, and can occur in a range of contexts such as schools, workplaces, or online platforms.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Bullynoun

    a noisy, blustering fellow, more insolent than courageous; one who is threatening and quarrelsome; an insolent, tyrannical fellow

  2. Bullynoun

    a brisk, dashing fellow

  3. Bullyadjective

    jovial and blustering; dashing

  4. Bullyadjective

    fine; excellent; as, a bully horse

  5. Bullyverb

    to intimidate with threats and by an overbearing, swaggering demeanor; to act the part of a bully toward

  6. Bullyverb

    to act as a bully

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Bully

    bool′i, n. a blustering, noisy, overbearing fellow: a ruffian hired to beat or intimidate any one: a fellow who lives upon the gains of a prostitute: (obs.) a term of familiarity to either man or woman.—adj. blustering: brisk: (U.S.) first-rate.—v.i. to bluster.—v.t. to threaten in a noisy way:—pr.p. bull′ying; pa.p. bull′ied.—n. Bull′yism.—v.t. Bull′yrag (coll.), to assail with abusive language, to overawe.—ns. Bull′yragging; Bull′y-rook, a bully.—Bully for you, bravo! [Perh. Dut. boel, a lover; cf. Ger. buhle.]

  2. Bully

    bool′i, n. a miner's hammer.

Editors Contribution

  1. bully

    It is a person who does something verbal or physical hurting you over and over.

    There is a bully at school that keeps bothering me.

    Submitted by JP03 on October 22, 2015  

Suggested Resources

  1. bully

    Song lyrics by bully -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by bully on the Lyrics.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. BULLY

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Bully is ranked #98982 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Bully surname appeared 183 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Bully.

    43.7% or 80 total occurrences were Black.
    43.1% or 79 total occurrences were White.
    6.5% or 12 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    2.7% or 5 total occurrences were Asian.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce bully?

How to say bully in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of bully in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of bully in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of bully in a Sentence

  1. Randy James:

    In some ways it's worse, with the rise of social media, you can be an anonymous bully. If you're not attractive, in many ways you're not going to be successful in society.

  2. Bernie Sanders:

    I think we can do it. And I think that's what the bully pulpit is about, and that's what organizing effort's about. And that's what this campaign is about.

  3. Dick Simpson:

    He risks looking like a bully.

  4. Hope Solo:

    I've seen Megan Rapinoe almost bully players into kneeling because she really wants to stand up for something in her particular way, but it's our right as Americans to do it in whatever way we're comfortable with.

  5. Bella Thorne:

    It would be so sad [ if I quit because of ] the media and ‘ cancel culture ’ and all the annoying people sitting behind a screen wanting to bully people off the internet for no other reason than they’re bored with their own lives.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for bully

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • boelieAfrikaans
  • مستأسدArabic
  • побойник, главорез, първокласен, хулиган, заплашвам, тиранизирамBulgarian
  • šikanovatCzech
  • tyrannisere, herse med, mobbe, udmærket, fint, bølle, tyran, finDanish
  • Bully, Tyrann, kujonieren, tyrannisieren, Rabauke, Schikaneur, einschüchtern, schikanieren, drangsalierenGerman
  • ĉikani, ĉikanulo, braveEsperanto
  • matón, abusador, intimidar, pendenciero, perdonavidas, tiranizar, bravucón, abusón, sicario, peleón, chulear, acosar, matasieteSpanish
  • kiusaja, riiukukk, türanniseerima, türann, terroriseerimaEstonian
  • گردن کلفتPersian
  • kiusaaja, kiusata, pahoinpitelijäFinnish
  • tyran, tourmenter, terroriser, maltraiter, brute, bravoFrench
  • ansmachtaí, ansmachtaighIrish
  • maoidh, maoidhear, burraidh, pulaidhScottish Gaelic
  • בריוןHebrew
  • megfélemlítHungarian
  • կռվարարArmenian
  • menggertakIndonesian
  • bullo, spaccone, arrogante, smargiasso, prepotenteItalian
  • 苛める, 苛め, 苛めっ子Japanese
  • 곯리다Korean
  • corruptor, saevusLatin
  • tītarakura, hawaiMāori
  • заплашува, тиранизира, силеџија, насилник, застрашуваMacedonian
  • wreedaard, pestkop, treiteren, treiteraar, pesten, jennen, bullebakDutch
  • intimidar, oprimir, atormentar, tiranizar, valente, rufião, valentão, bravo, bulir, aterrorizar, maltratarPortuguese
  • tiran, intimidaRomanian
  • громила, хулиган, запугивать, застращать, тиранизировать, задрать, терроризировать, задира, забияка, тиран, запугать, стращать, задиратьRussian
  • mobbare, mobbaSwedish
  • புல்லிTamil
  • zorbaTurkish
  • хуліганUkrainian
  • đầu gấuVietnamese
  • פאַרטשעפּעןYiddish
  • 欺負Chinese

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"bully." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 16 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/bully>.

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    the reduction of expenditures in order to become financially stable
    A fancy
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    C troop
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