Online Encyclopedia

BULLY (of uncertain origin, but possi...

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 793 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
BULLY (of uncertain origin, but possibly connected with a Teutonic word seen in many compounds, as the Low Ger. bullerjaan, meaning " noisy "; the word has also, with less probability, been derived from the Dutch beel, and Ger. Buhle, a lover), originally a fine, swaggering fellow, as in " Bully Bottom" in A Midsummer Night's Dream, later an overbearing ruffian, especially a coward who abuses his strength by ill-treating the weak; more technically a souteneur, a man who lives on the earnings of a prostitute. The term in its early use of " fine " or "splendid" survives in American slang.
End of Article: BULLY (of uncertain origin, but possibly connected with a Teutonic word seen in many compounds, as the Low Ger. bullerjaan, meaning " noisy "; the word has also, with less probability, been derived from the Dutch beel, and Ger. Buhle, a lover)
[back]
BULLROARER
[next]
BERNHARD ERNST VON BULOW (1815-1879)

Additional information and Comments

Living in Spain gives me an idea for the origin of the word and the concept "bullying". In thousands of summer "festivities" in Spain bulls and calves are bullied by hoards of often drunk youths. I understand that this kind of activity took place all over Europe in past centuries; possibly bovines are "ideal" victims of bullying because 1. they are not meat eaters and therefore do not pose a real threat 2. look big and fierce but are in fact pacific (like a big but simple boy in a class) 3. will run away until either exhausted or trapped when they will turn and attack 4. they tire easily. Please look at this link to see video of these poor animals being bullied and harrassed and I'd be very interested in hearing anyone's opinion of my theory of the origin of the word "bully" http://www.altarriba.org/2/verguenza/correbous.htm
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.