Dictionaries change the definition of ‘bullying’ as a result of
Diana Award campaign led by young people

5 June 2018

Original definition:
Bully n. a person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.

New definition:
Bully n. a person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable.

  • Google, Collins, Dictionary.com, Oxford Dictionaries, Cambridge Dictionary change their definition of bullying.
  • Campaign received widespread celebrity support from: Holly & Richard Branson, Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown, Nadia Sawalha, Kelly Hoppen OBE, Oscar winning film maker Dustin Lance Black, Holly Willoughby & Philip Scholfield, Monica Lewinsky, George Samson, James McVey from the Vamps and Will Poulter.
  • Success of youth-led campaign announced as The Diana Award urges the nation to Stand Up To Bullying Day on 13 June 2018.

The Diana Award announces the overwhelming success of their youth-led campaign, created by ad agency WCRS, to change the definition of ‘bully’ with all major dictionary companies agreeing to change the definition.

A new campaign video with young people has been launched today to celebrate the success.

The campaign harnessed the support of young people and social media to urge dictionary companies to remove the word ‘weak’ from their definitions of bully or bullying.

A YouGov poll revealed that 72% of GB children, aged 13-17yrs, agreed that the definition of ‘bully’ should be updated. 

The campaign for change received widespread support from celebrities and key influencers.

“We’re delighted to have worked with WCRS on this important campaign. Our ground breaking peer-led Anti-Bullying programme has trained over 27,000 young people across the UK and Ireland (and internationally) to act as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.  A core part of our work is to educate young people that a bully is not inherently strong and being a victim of bullying does not mean you are weak.  By removing weak from the definition we can instil confidence in those who have or are still experiencing bullying and help future generations better understand bullying behaviour.”

Alex Holmes, Deputy CEO of The Diana Award

“The original definition of ‘bully’ didn’t accurately represent its true meaning, or even how the word ‘bully’ is used. We felt it was time to redefine the word, because how can you end bullying if the starting point is wrong?  We are absolutely delighted with the hugely successful result of this campaign.”

WCRS Creative Director, Orlando Warner

The Diana Award runs the leading Anti-Bullying Campaign in the UK and Ireland giving young people, professionals and parents the skills, confidence and training to tackle all forms of bullying as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.

The Diana Award was set up in memory of The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better.

The charity fosters, develops and inspires positive change in the lives of young people through three key programmes which include; a mentoring programme for young people at risk, a youth-led anti-bullying ambassadors campaign and a prestigious award which publicly recognises young people – The Diana Award.


© 2020 The Diana Award. The Diana Award is a registered charity (1117288 / SC041916) and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales number 5739137.