Meaning of “bully” in the English Dictionary

"bully" in British English

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bullynoun [ C ]

uk /ˈbʊl.i/ us /ˈbʊl.i/

C1 someone who hurts or frightens someone who is smaller or less powerful, often forcing them to do something that they do not want to do:

You're just a big bully!
Teachers usually know who the bullies are in a class.

More examples

  • It takes courage to stand up to a bully.
  • He was one of those school bullies who tyrannized the whole playground.
  • Don't be such a bully - if she doesn't want to come with us, she doesn't have to.
  • The playground bully used to take our dinner money off us.
  • The management team should stop acting like bullies and try to discuss the problem with us reasonably.

Idiom(s)

bullyverb [ T ]

uk /ˈbʊl.i/ us /ˈbʊl.i/

C1 to hurt or frighten someone who is smaller or less powerful than you, often forcing that person to do something they do not want to do:

Our survey indicates that one in four children is bullied at school.
Don't let anyone bully you into doing something you don't want to do.

More examples

  • He has a strong personality, but don't let him bully you.
  • Don't be bullied, learn to stand up for yourself and what you believe in.
  • It is important that you report it to the teacher if you see anyone being bullied.
  • He bullied me into getting the surgery done, and I'm glad now that he did.
  • When you are bullied, it can destroy your self-esteem.
bullying
noun [ U ] uk /ˈbʊl.i.ɪŋ/ us /ˈbʊl.i.ɪŋ/

Bullying is a problem in many schools.

(Definition of “bully” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"bully" in American English

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bullyverb [ T ]

us /ˈbʊl·i/

to threaten to hurt someone, often frightening that person into doing something:

He managed to bully her into giving him her car.

bullynoun [ U ]

/ˈbʊl·i/

a person who threatens to hurt someone, often forcing that person to do something:

Teachers usually know who the bullies are in a class.

(Definition of “bully” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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