Definify.com

Webster 1913 Edition


Boy

Boy

,
Noun.
[Cf. D.
boef
, Fries.
boi
,
boy
; akin to G.
bube
, Icel.
bofi
rouge.]
1.
A male child, from birth to the age of puberty; a lad; hence, a son.
My only
boy
fell by the side of great Dundee.
Sir W. Scott.
Boy is often used as a term of comradeship, as in college, or in the army or navy. In the plural used colloquially of members of an associaton, fraternity, or party.
Boy bishop
,
a boy (usually a chorister) elected bishop, in old Christian sports, and invested with robes and other insignia. He practiced a kind of mimicry of the ceremonies in which the bishop usually officiated.
The Old Boy
,
the Devil.
[Slang]
Yellow boys
,
guineas.
[Slang, Eng.]
Boy’s love
,
a popular English name of Southernwood (
Artemisia abrotonum
); – called also
lad's love
.
Boy's play
,
childish amusements; anything trifling.

Boy

,
Verb.
T.
To act as a boy; – in allusion to the former practice of boys acting women's parts on the stage.
I shall see
Some squeaking Cleopatra
boy
my greatness.
Shakespeare

Webster 1828 Edition


Boy

BOY

,
Noun.
[L. puer for puger, for we see by puella, that r is not radical. So the Gr. probably is contracted, for the derivative verb, forms.]
A male child, from birth to the age of puberty; but in general, applied to males under ten or twelve years of age; a lad. Sometimes it is used in contempt for a young man, indicating immaturity, want of vigor or judgment.

BOY

,
Verb.
T.
To treat as a boy.
Rather, to act as a boy; to imitate a boy in action. The passage in Shakespeare,in which this word is found,is supposed to allude to the practice of boys acting women's parts on the stage.
I shall see some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness.

Definition 2021


Boy

Boy

See also: boy and bõy

Turkish

Proper noun

Boy

  1. A male given name

boy

boy

See also: Boy and bõy

English

Painting of a boy (c. 1811)
Two Arab boys (c. 1910)

Alternative forms

  • boi (Jamaican English)

Noun

boy (plural boys)

  1. A young male, [from 15th c.] particularly
    1. A male child or teenager, as distinguished from infants or adults.
      • 1876, Frances Eliza Millett Notley, The Kiddle-a-Wink, "A Tale of Love", page 169:
        "He is not quite a baby, Alfred," said Ellen, "though he is only a big stupid boy. We have made him miserable enough. Let us leave him alone."
  2. (diminutive) A male child: a son of any age.
    • Walter Scott
      My only boy fell by the side of great Dundee.
  3. (affectionate, diminutive) A male of any age, particularly one rather younger than the speaker. [from 17th c.]
  4. (obsolete) A male of low station, (especially as pejorative) a worthless male, a wretch; a mean and dishonest male, a knave. [14th-17th c.]
  5. (now rare and usually offensive outside some Commonwealth nations) A male servant, slave, assistant, or employee, [from 14th c.] particularly:
    • c. 1300, King Horn, line 1075:
      þe boye hit scholde abugge; Horn þreu him ouer þe brigge.
    • 1973, Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow, i, 37:
      ‘Why does he go out and pinch all his dogs in person? He's an administrator, isn't he? Wouldn't he hire a boy or something?’
      ‘We call them “staff”,’ Roger replies.
    1. A younger such worker.
      • 1721, Penelope Aubin, The Life of Madam de Beaumount, ii, 36:
        I resolved to continue in the Cave, with my two Servants, my Maid, and a Boy, whom I had brought from France.
    2. (historical or offensive) A non-white male servant regardless of age, [from 17th c.] particularly as a form of address.
      • 1625, W. Hawkins in Samuel Purchas, Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas his Pilgrimes, Vol. I, iii, vii, 211:
        My Boy Stephen Grauener.
      • 1834, Edward Markham, New Zealand or Recollections of It, 72:
        They picked out two of the strongest of the Boys (as they call the Men) about the place.
      • 1876, Ebenezer Thorne, The Queen of the Colonies, or, Queensland as I Knew It, 58:
        The blacks who work on a station or farm are always, like the blacks in the Southern States, called boys.
      • 1907 May 13, N.Y. Evening Post, 6:
        [In Shanghai,] The register clerk assigns you to a room, and instead of ‘Front!’ he shouts ‘Boy!’
      • 1960 February 5, Northern Territory News, 5/5:
        Aborigine Wally... described himself as ‘number one boy’ at the station.
    3. (obsolete) A male camp follower.
  6. (now offensive) Any non-white male, regardless of age. [from 19th c.]
    • 1812, Anne Plumptre translating Hinrich Lichtenstein, Travels in Southern Africa, in the Years 1803, 1804, 1805, and 1806, Vol. I, i, viii, 119:
      A Hottentot... expects to be called by his name if addressed by any one who knows it; and by those to whom it is not known he expects to be called Hottentot... or boy.
    • 1888, Louis Diston Powles, Land of Pink Pearl, or Recollections of Life in the Bahamas, 66:
      Every darky, however old, is a boy.
    • 1973 September 8, Black Panther, 7/2:
      [In Alabama,] Guards still use the term ‘boy’ to refer to Black prisoners.
    • 1979, Bert Newton and Mohammed Ali, The Logie Awards:
      BN: [repeating a catchphrase] I like the boy.
      MA: [to hostile audience] Hold it, hold it, hold it. Easy. Did you say ‘Roy’ or ‘boy’?
      BN: ‘I like the boy’. There's nothing wrong with saying that... Hang on, hang on, hang on... I'll change religion, I'll do anything for ya, I don't bloody care... What's wrong with saying that? ‘I like the boy’?
      MA: Boy...
      BN: I mean, I like the man. I'm sorry, Muhammad.
  7. (in affectionate address) A male animal, especially a male dog. [from 15th c.]
    C'mere, boy! Good boy! Who's a good boy?
  8. (historical, military) A former low rank of various armed services; a holder of this rank.
    • 1841 May 6, Times in London, 5/4:
      Wounded... 1 Boy, 1st class, severely.
    • 1963 April 30, Times in London, 16/2:
      He joined the Navy as a boy second class in 1898.
  9. (US, slang) Heroin. [from 20th c.]

Synonyms

Antonyms

  • (young male): See Wikisaurus:girl

Derived terms

Descendants

Translations

Interjection

boy

  1. Exclamation of surprise, pleasure or longing.
    Boy, that was close!
    Boy, that tastes good!
    Boy, I wish I could go to Canada!

Related terms

Translations

Verb

boy (third-person singular simple present boys, present participle boying, simple past and past participle boyed)

  1. to use the word boy to refer to someone
    Don't boy me!
  2. (transitive) to act as a boy (in allusion to the former practice of boys acting women's parts on the stage)
    • Shakespeare
      I shall see some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness.

See also

  • girl, man (antonyms in some senses)
  • Appendix:English collective nouns

References

  • Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, Springfield, Massachusetts, G.&C. Merriam Co., 1967

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: five · need · met · #395: boy · c. · strong · dead

Anagrams


Cebuano

Etymology

From English boy.

Noun

boy

  1. houseboy, errand boy

Synonyms


Dutch

Pronunciation

Etymology

Borrowing from English boy.

Noun

boy m (plural boys, diminutive boytje n)

  1. a male domestic servant, especially colored in a colony

See also


French

Etymology

Borrowing from English boy.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /bɔj/

Noun

boy m (plural boys)

  1. (now historical, offensive) boy (non-white male servant)
    • 1930, André Malraux, La Voie royale:
      Claude allait l'ouvrir mais le ton sur lequel le délégué appelait son boy lui fit lever la tête : l'auto attendait, bleue sous l'ampoule de la porte; le boy, qui s'était écarté – en voyant arriver le délégué sans doute – se rapprochait, hésitant.

Italian

Etymology

Borrowing from English boy.

Noun

boy m (inv)

  1. a male ballet dancer
  2. a bellboy (in a hotel)

Ladino

Etymology

Borrowing from Turkish boy (stature, size).

Noun

boy m (Latin spelling)

  1. age, size

Portuguese

Etymology 1

Shortening of office boy, from English office boy.

Alternative forms

Noun

boy m (plural boys)

  1. office boy
  2. (Brazil, slang) a young, upper-class male
Synonyms

Etymology 2

Noun

boy m (plural boys)

  1. Obsolete spelling of boi

Sranan Tongo

Etymology

From English boy.

Noun

boy

  1. boy

Turkish

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): [boj]

Etymology 1

From Old Turkic bod, from Proto-Turkic *bod. See archaic bodur (stout, short).

Noun

boy (definite accusative }}}, plural }}})

  1. stature
    Boyun ne kadar? ― How tall are you? (lit. "How much is your stature?")
  2. size
    küçük boy ― small size
Derived terms
  • boylu
  • boyluluk
  • boysuz
  • boysuzluk

Etymology 2

From Old Turkic bod, from Proto-Turkic *bod.

Noun

boy (definite accusative }}}, plural }}})

  1. tribe, clan
    eski Türk boyları tarihi ― history of ancient Turkish clans
Declension