Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A personification of England or the English.
  • n. A typical Englishman.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. A personification of England

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a humorous name for the English, collectively; also, an Englishman.
  • n. an ideal personification of the typical characteristics of an Englishman, or of the English people.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An Englishman; also, the English collectively.
  • n. A game in which the contestants throw pennies upon a flat stone divided into sixteen small squares, each marked with a certain number, and score according to the numbers of the squares upon which the pennies remain.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a man of English descent

Etymologies

After John Bull, a character in Law Is a Bottomless Pit by John Arbuthnot.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Here he came, walking fast and full of purpose, a black-bearded round-bellied John Bull of a man, and the excitement flared so that for an instant I literally could not see.

    Time and Again

  • Among these, a Mr. Twisleton, brother of Lord Saye and Sele, the most agreeable John Bull I have seen this many a day, or indeed ever ....

    Julia Ward Howe, 1819-1910

  • Across the street from the church, in front of the new John Bull Pub, we pass a girl with dreadlocks in camouflage pants who would look at home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

    Enemies of the People

  • There is one called John Bull on the Guadalquivir, the chief incident in which occurred to me and a friend of mine on our way up that river to Seville.

    Autobiography of Anthony Trollope

  • John Bull was given another moment in history to display his famous doggedness.

    The War with the Newts

  • This Benjamin, who married the daughter of a Devonshire clergyman named Cobley, was a man of the old-fashioned, John Bull type, who loved his Church and king, believed that England was the only great country in the world, swore that Napoleon won all his battles by bribery, and would have knocked down any man who dared to disagree with him.

    Little Memoirs of the Nineteenth Century

  • From 1916 to 1919 a wave of criminal lust rose and possessed England, there was a reign of terror, under a set of indecent bullies like Bottomley of John Bull and other bottom – dog members of the House of Commons.

    Kangaroo

  • Contrariwise, if the Khalsa was beat, the last thing John Bull would want to hear was that it had been managed by a dirty deal with two treacherous Sikh generals — where's the glory to Britannia's arms in that?

    Flashman and the Mountain of Light

  • Scriblerus, partly by Pope, but to which he was the chief contributor, the History of John Bull (1712), mainly against the Duke of Marlborough, A Treatise concerning the

    A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature

  • The mouth of the Peiho was guarded by the famous Taku Forts, from which we had been bloodily repulsed the previous year, when the Yankees, watching on the touchline, had thrown their neutrality overboard in the crisis and weighed in to help pull Cousin John Bull out of the soup21.

    Flashman and the Dragon

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.