A young man being a bully.
An example of a bully is the big kid on the playground who steals everyone's lunch money.
- a person who hurts, frightens, or tyrannizes over those who are smaller or weaker
- Brit., Dial. a companion or comrade
- Archaic a pimp
- Archaic a hired cutthroat or thug
- Archaic a fine fellow
Origin of bullyorigin, originally , sweetheart from Dutch boel, lover, brother from Middle High German buole (Ger buhle), lover, probably origin, originally diminutive of bruder, brother; later influenced, influence by bull
transitive verb-·lied, -·ly·ing
- dashing, hearty, or jolly: my bully lad
- Informal fine; very good
Origin of bullyFrench bouilli, boiled beef from past participle of bouillir, boil
- A person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people.
- A hired ruffian; a thug.
- A pimp.
- Archaic A fine person.
- Archaic A sweetheart.
verbbul·lied, bul·ly·ing, bul·lies
- To treat in an overbearing or intimidating manner. See Synonyms at intimidate.
- To make (one's way) aggressively.
- To behave like a bully.
- To force one's way aggressively or by intimidation: “They bully into line at the gas pump” ( Martin Gottfried )
Origin of bullyPossibly from Middle Dutch boele sweetheart probably alteration of broeder brother ; see bhrāter- in Indo-European roots.
Origin of bullyPerhaps French bouilli boiled meat, label on canned beef from past participle of bouillir to boil from Old French boilir ; see boil 1.
(countable and uncountable, plural bullies)
- A person who is cruel to others, especially those who are weaker or have less power.
- A playground bully pushed a girl off the swing.
- I noticed you being a bully towards people with disabilities.
- A noisy, blustering fellow, more insolent than courageous; one who is threatening and quarrelsome; an insolent, tyrannical fellow.
- A hired thug.
- A prostitute’s minder; a pimp.
- (uncountable) Bully beef.
- The small scrum in the Eton College field game.
- A small freshwater fish.
(third-person singular simple present bullies, present participle bullying, simple past and past participle bullied)
(comparative bullier, superlative bulliest)
- (often followed by for) Well done!
- She's finally leaving her abusive husband — bully for her!
1530, from Dutch boel (“lover, brother”), from Middle Dutch boel, boele (“brother, lover”), from Proto-Germanic *bō-lan- (compare Middle Low German bōle (“brother”), Middle High German buole (“brother, close relative, close relation”), German Buhle (“lover”)), diminutive of expressive *bō- (“brother, father”). More at boy.