We use the word "bully" to describe a person who hurts or harasses another person for pleasure. (or the person is just naturally mean.) A bully can be a child or an adult. Lately a lot of attention has been focused on bullying in American schools, but it can happen among adults in offices or neighborhoods. It’s a good word to learn about.
Reggie is a bully.
These sentences show how "bully" is used as a noun:
- Everyone knows that Reggie is a bully.
- Martha teases the people she works with in a very mean way. She’s nothing but a bully.
- Some bullies at a local school made a girl so unhappy that she hanged herself.
- Steve’s experiences as a child made him into a bully, and he knows it; however, he still goes out of his way to make others uncomfortable.
- Many Americans think Donald Trump is a bully.
You can use "bully" as a verb:
- Mike bullied a boy into giving up his lunch money.
- I know a teenage girl who was bullied so much at school that she often stayed home. (This sentence uses the passive voice.)
- My wife’s boss bullies his employees into working extra hours and on the weekends.
- No one likes the way the police bullied the protestors with mace.
These sentences show how "bully" is used in the form of a gerund:
- Bullying is a problem in some schools.
- Parents were upset to learn that a situation involving bullying wasn’t addressed.
- If you are a victim of bullying, you should seek help.
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This page was first published on May 8, 2012. It was updated on February 2, 2016.