1 [bool-ee]
noun, plural bullies.
a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.
Archaic. a man hired to do violence.
Obsolete. a pimp; procurer.
Obsolete. good friend; good fellow.
Obsolete. sweetheart; darling.
verb (used with object), bullied, bullying.
to act the bully toward; intimidate; domineer.
verb (used without object), bullied, bullying.
to be loudly arrogant and overbearing.
Informal. fine; excellent; very good.
dashing; jovial; high-spirited.
Informal. good! well done!

1530–40; < Middle Dutch boele lover

bullyable, adjective
unbullied, adjective
unbullying, adjective

6. cow, browbeat, coerce; terrorize, tyrannize.
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2 [bool-ee]

1865–70; < French bouilli, short for boeuf bouilli boiled meat. See boil1, beef


3 [bool-ee]
noun, plural bullies.
Soccer. a desperate, freewheeling scramble for the ball by a number of players, usually in the goal area.
Field Hockey. a method of putting the ball into play in which two opponents, facing each other, tap their sticks on the ground near the ball and then make contact with each other's sticks over the ball three times, after which each tries to gain possession of the ball.

1860–65; of obscure origin

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bully1 (ˈbʊlɪ)
n , pl -lies
1.  a person who hurts, persecutes, or intimidates weaker people
2.  archaic a hired ruffian
3.  obsolete a procurer; pimp
4.  obsolete a fine fellow or friend
5.  obsolete a sweetheart; darling
vb (when tr, often foll by into) , -lies, -lies, -lying, -lied
6.  to hurt, intimidate, or persecute (a weaker or smaller person), esp to make him do something
7.  dashing; jolly: my bully boy
8.  informal very good; fine
9.  informal Also: bully for you well done! bravo!
[C16 (in the sense: sweetheart, hence fine fellow, hence swaggering coward): probably from Middle Dutch boele lover, from Middle High German buole, perhaps childish variant of bruoderbrother]

bully2 (ˈbʊlɪ)
n , pl -lies
pakoko, titarakura, Also called (NZ): toitoi any of various small freshwater fishes of the genera Gobiomorphus and Philynodon of New Zealand
[C20: short for cockabully]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1530s, originally "sweetheart," applied to either sex, from Du. boel "lover, brother," probably dim. of M.H.G. buole "brother," of uncertain origin (cf. Ger. buhle "lover"). Meaning deteriorated 17c. through "fine fellow," "blusterer," to "harasser of the weak" (1680s, from bully-ruffian, 1650s). Perhaps
this was by influence of bull (n.1), but a connecting sense between "lover" and "ruffian" may be in "protector of a prostitute," which was one sense of bully (though not specifically attested until 1706). The verb is first attested 1710. The expression meaning "worthy, jolly, admirable" (esp. in 1864 U.S. slang bully for you!) is first attested 1680s, and preserves an earlier, positive sense of the word.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Homework horror stories are as timeworn as school bullies and cafeteria mystery
Probably that accounts for the temporary indecision in the matter of bullies
  which he remembers.
We might think that bullies are quite different from the victims of bullying.
The bullies orchestrating a witch hunt might applaud this fetid slop, but no
  one else.
Related Words
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