WHAT DOES THE WORD 'BULLY' MEAN?
1. A term of endearment and familiarity originally applied to either sex e.g. sweetheart. Later to men only, implying friendly admiration: good friend, fine fellow. Often prefixed as a sort of title to the name of the person addressed as in Shakespeare - bully Bottom. Now obsolete.
2. Brother, companion.
3. A blustery 'gallant' or 'swash-buckler', now esp. a tyrannical coward who makes himself a terror to the weak.
With thanks to Elizabeth Caffin