Football Language: To bully an opponent

This post explains To bully an opponentthe football term ‘to bully an opponent’.

  • Find out more about this phrase by reading the transcript below.
  • You can also find many more examples of soccer vocabulary by going to our football cliches page here and our huge football glossary here.

To bully an opponent

When someone bullies someone else it means that they treat others – usually smaller or weaker – in a bad way. The phrase in football does not have such a negative meaning and is used when one player physically dominates another in a match, so for example, a forward easily pushes aside the defender when challenging for a ball. You might sometimes hear people say that a player ‘bullied the defence’ which means that he or she was much stronger than the defence.

Example: ‘Employing the muscular Italian Stefano Okaka to bully the visitors’ centre backs…’ (Jim White in the Telegraph online, 13th August, 2017).

Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

Welcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Soccer fans can enhance these skills with lots of free language resources: a weekly podcast, football phrases, explanations of football vocabulary, football cliches, worksheets, quizzes and much more at

Google | Facebook | Twitter | Mail | Website

Join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • What does “bully” mean in this context?

    What does “bully” mean in this context (football/soccer)?

    34 min Toure bullies the ball off Diame and shuttles forward but when he plays in Silva he takes too long and is robbed. West Ham break through Downing but Demichelis is not going to be mugged and gets there to clear.

    Dear me, Leicester. They’ve been absolutely bullied here. West Ham are first to everything.

  • I think this is a very good website because in the last sentence it stated both girls and boys,this is good because girls and boys play sports!

More from this show