Bullying is the use of abuse—physical, emotional, or social—or the threat thereof to intimidate and cause harm to others, especially in such a way as to assert dominance or superiority over the target. Bullying is often characterized by behavior that skirts a perceived line. For instance, a bully may not punch his target, instead repeatedly lightly tapping him in a way that cannot do damage, implicitly or explicitly suggesting that complaining about a touch that is not painful makes the target weak. Classical bullying behaviors are those that are hard for authorities to punish because they seem, on the surface, less serious than an outright assault, or do no obvious “damage.” We now know that the psychological effect can be severe even when the physical is not, and online bullying—which lacks a physical element—particularly of students and young people, and in some cases by parents or other authorities, has brought new attention to bullying as a culture-wide problem in the United States.
Bullying. (2015). In J. Mcray (Ed.), Leadership glossary: Essential terms for the 21st century. Santa Barbara, California: Mission Bell Media.