What Does Bully For You Mean?

Bully for You Meaning

Definition: Good for you; how brave.

Occasionally, this expression is used to praise someone sincerely. However, this usage is not incredibly common in the present day.

Nowadays, this expression is often sarcastic. A person might use this if he or she thinks that someone’s story is boring or not very good.

Origin of Bully for You!

In the 1500s and 1600s, the word bully meant an excellent person. Nowadays, bully usually means someone who hurts those weaker than oneself.

The original, positive meaning is still preserved in the idiom bully for you.

Examples of Bully for You!

meaning of bully for youIn this example, two sisters talk about the movie they just saw. One of the sisters uses the expression sarcastically.

Amy: Wow. That movie was so deep. I have a whole new perspective on life.

Kimberly: Yeah, it was pretty good.

Amy: No, you don’t understand. After seeing this movie, I understand much more about the universe and why life is the way it is.

Kimberly: I think I do understand. It was a pretty straightforward movie.

Amy: No. I am so much wiser now.

Kimberly: Well, bully for you! Let’s go home now.

bully for me definitionIn the second example, two friends are discussing a problem that a bride solved in a brave way.

Keira: Hey! How are you enjoying your wedding so far?

Emily: It’s pretty good! But, honestly, I’m a little bit stressed.

Keira: Yeah, I saw what happened with your uncle.

Emily: I know. It was terrible. I shouldn’t have kicked him out.

Keira: No, that’s not what I was going to say at all. I was going to say bully for you! He was being very offensive and didn’t deserve to stay.

Emily: Thanks for the reassurance!

More Examples

Here is an example about how to behave after losing. In this excerpt, the idiom is used to praise people who are not sore losers.

  • Maybe, convinced of the nobility of your cause, you get back on the field the next day and try, try again, hoping to learn from your loss and play better the next time. Bully for you if so. –Washington Post

In this excerpt, a critic uses the idiom sarcastically. He wants to express that he is tired of hearing a woman talk about food for so long.

  • At this point, I was tempted to interject with a sigh, “Well, bully for you, Diane.” If you, like me, have begun to tire of the teeming hordes of food fetishists babbling about the latest new place — making it impossible to ever get into the latest new place, because of course they don’t take reservations, and who has three hours of life to wait for Chinese food? — your reaction to Ms. Cho’s play may, like mine, be on the tepid side. –New York Times


The phrase bully for you is an expression of praise or admiration that is most often used sarcastically.