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[sob] /sɒb/
verb (used without object), sobbed, sobbing.
to weep with a convulsive catching of the breath.
to make a sound resembling this.
verb (used with object), sobbed, sobbing.
to utter with sobs.
to put, send, etc., by sobbing or with sobs:
to sob oneself to sleep.
the act of sobbing; a convulsive catching of the breath in weeping.
any sound suggesting this.
1150-1200; Middle English sobben, apparently imitative
Related forms
sobber, noun
sobbingly, adverb
sobful, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sobbing
  • She was rushed to the infirmary one night by a dorm supervisor who found her sobbing uncontrollably.
  • He wandered aimlessly around the field in uncontrolled, shoulder-shaking sobbing.
  • She was sobbing, unable to catch her breath or tell me what was wrong.
  • Hands cuffed behind his back, he sat down on the ground by his car, sobbing.
  • Afterwards, she was sobbing and had to receive medical attention for high blood pressure.
  • Some were sobbing, others were simply staring at the floor.
  • He caught me by the shoulders, put his arm around me, and led me sobbing in fury to his bedroom.
  • He buried his face into the steering wheel, sobbing.
  • They may be on the phone laughing one moment and then in the next sobbing over a math problem.
  • She said she then collapsed at a desk while leaving the meeting, and began sobbing.
British Dictionary definitions for sobbing


verb sobs, sobbing, sobbed
(intransitive) to weep with convulsive gasps
(transitive) to utter with sobs
to cause (oneself) to be in a specified state by sobbing: to sob oneself to sleep
a convulsive gasp made in weeping
Derived Forms
sobber, noun
sobbing, noun, adjective
Word Origin
C12: probably from Low German; compare Dutch sabben to suck
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 sobbing



c.1200, "to cry with short breaths," probably of imitative origin, related to Old English seofian "to lament," Old High German sufan "to draw breath," West Frisian sobje "to suck." Related: Sobbed; sobbing.


late 14c., from sob (v.). Sob story is from 1913. Sob sister "female journalist who writes sentimental stories or advice columns" is from 1912.

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

soap opera


: The average man and woman in this country live a soap-opera existence

noun phrase
  1. A radio or television daily dramatic series typically showing the painful, passionate, and riveting amours and disasters of more or less ordinary people: a new soap opera which threatens to out-misery all the others
  2. A life or incidents in life that resemble such shows: You want to hear the latest in my never-ending soap opera?

[1939+; fr the fact that in radio days such shows were typically sponsored by soap manufacturers]

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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Related Abbreviations for sobbing


  1. Senate Office Building
  2. shortness of breath
  3. son of a bitch
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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