bully

You might still have terrifying dreams about the bully who harassed you on the playground in second grade. A bully is someone who intimidates people, usually those who are weaker or smaller.

The classic example of a bully is a mean kid in a schoolyard who hassles or beats up younger students. While a child or a teenager can be a bully, so is anyone who uses power or strength to scare or harm other people. The word bully has gone through a mysterious evolution, from the 1530s when it meant "sweetheart," through the 17th century's meanings of "fine fellow," then "blusterer," and finally "harasser of the weak."

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: bully

1
vn
discourage or frighten with threats or a domineering manner; intimidate
a cruel and brutal fellow
2
adj
very good
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: bully
1

v discourage or frighten with threats or a domineering manner; intimidate

Synonyms:
browbeat, swagger
Type of:
blarney, cajole, coax, inveigle, palaver, sweet-talk, wheedle
influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering

v be bossy towards

“Her big brother always bullied her when she was young”
Synonyms:
ballyrag, boss around, browbeat, bullyrag, hector, push around, strong-arm
Types:
domineer, tyrannise, tyrannize
rule or exercise power over (somebody) in a cruel and autocratic manner
Type of:
intimidate
make timid or fearful

n a cruel and brutal fellow

Synonyms:
hooligan, roughneck, rowdy, ruffian, tough, yob, yobbo, yobo
Types:
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bullyboy
a swaggering tough; usually one acting as an agent of a political faction
muscle, muscleman
a bully employed as a thug or bodyguard
skinhead
a young person who belongs to a British or American group that shave their heads and gather at rock concerts or engage in white supremacist demonstrations
plug-ugly, tough guy
someone who bullies weaker people
Ted, Teddy boy
a tough youth of 1950's and 1960's wearing Edwardian style clothes
Type of:
aggressor, assailant, assaulter, attacker
someone who attacks

n a hired thug

Type of:
goon, hood, hoodlum, punk, strong-armer, thug, tough, toughie
an aggressive and violent young criminal
2

adj very good

“he did a bully job”
Synonyms:
bang-up, corking, cracking, dandy, great, groovy, keen, neat, nifty, not bad, peachy, slap-up, smashing, swell
good
having desirable or positive qualities especially those suitable for a thing specified
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