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bully1

[boo l-ee] /ˈbʊl i/
noun, plural bullies.
1.
a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.
2.
Archaic. a man hired to do violence.
3.
Obsolete. a pimp; procurer.
4.
Obsolete. good friend; good fellow.
5.
Obsolete. sweetheart; darling.
verb (used with object), bullied, bullying.
6.
to act the bully toward; intimidate; domineer.
verb (used without object), bullied, bullying.
7.
to be loudly arrogant and overbearing.
adjective
8.
Informal. fine; excellent; very good.
9.
dashing; jovial; high-spirited.
interjection
10.
Informal. good! well done!
Origin
1530-1540
1530-40; < Middle Dutch boele lover
Related forms
bullyable, adjective
unbullied, adjective
unbullying, adjective
Synonyms
6. cow, browbeat, coerce; terrorize, tyrannize.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for bullying
  • But the nurse's visit typically wasn't used to treat physical injuries from bullying.
  • Invitations to quid pro quo arrangements could be reconceived as bullying.
  • If you can get away with bullying, then you keep bullying.
  • Hummingbirds compete by challenging and bullying each other.
  • We might think that bullies are quite different from the victims of bullying.
  • bullying and cyber-bullying have been making lots of headlines in the past several weeks.
  • Law-school professors, for instance, are famous for bullying their underlings.
  • Some of the posters here are still suffering from testosterone drop and low testosterone is linked to bullying.
  • Delaying or interfering with a response to bullying in criminal form is itself a criminal matter.
  • Bouncing back from insults, slights, or the endless forms of bullying is one of life's more vexing challenges.
British Dictionary definitions for bullying

bully1

/ˈbʊlɪ/
noun (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
verb -lies, -lying, -lied
6.
when tr, often foll by into. to hurt, intimidate, or persecute (a weaker or smaller person), esp to make him do something
adjective
7.
dashing; jolly: my bully boy
8.
(informal) very good; fine
interjection
9.
(informal) Also bully for you. well done! bravo!
Word Origin
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/
noun (pl) -lies
1.
any of various small freshwater fishes of the genera Gobiomorphus and Philynodon of New Zealand Also called (NZ) pakoko, titarakura, toitoi
Word Origin
C20: short for cockabully
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bullying
n.

1802, verbal noun from bully (v.).

bully

n.

1530s, originally "sweetheart," applied to either sex, from Dutch boel "lover; brother," probably a diminutive of Middle Dutch broeder "brother" (cf. Middle High German buole "brother," source of German Buhle "lover;" see brother (n.)).

Meaning deteriorated 17c. through "fine fellow" and "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 expression meaning "worthy, jolly, admirable" (especially in 1864 U.S. slang bully for you!) is first attested 1680s, and preserves an earlier, positive sense of the word.

v.

1710, from bully (n.). Related: Bullied; bullying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bullying

bully

adjective

Excellent; good (1840s+)

interjection

: Bully for you! (1780s+)

noun

A track worker; gandy dancer (1900+ Railroad)

[first two senses fr bully, ''a beloved person, darling,'' of obscure origin, attested fr 1538. Bully, ''worthy, admirable,'' used of persons, is attested in 1681]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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