boy

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English[edit]

Painting of a boy.

Alternative forms[edit]

  • boi (Jamaican English)

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English boy, boye (servant, commoner, knave, boy), from Old English *bōia (boy), from Proto-Germanic *bōjô (younger brother, young male relation), from Proto-Germanic *bō- (brother, close male relation), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰā-, *bʰāt- (father, elder brother, brother). Cognate with Scots boy (boy), Eastern Frisian boi (boy, young gentleman), West Frisian boai (boy), Middle Dutch boi, booi (boy), Low German Boi (boy), and probably to the Old English proper name Bōia. Also related to West Flemish boe (brother), Norwegian dialectal boa (brother), English bub, Dutch boef (rogue, knave), German dialectal Bube (boy, lad, knave), Icelandic bófi (rogue, crook, bandit, knave). See also bully.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

boy (plural boys)

  1. (now uncommon and/or offensive) Male servant.
    1. (now rare) A male servant, in general senses. [from 14th c.]
    2. (historical, now offensive) A non-white male servant, as used especially by whites in a colonial settlement etc. [from 17th c.]
      • When the 'dipenda' (independence movement) in Belgian Congo turned violent, the white colonisers' often materially privileged black domestic boys were mistrusted and often abused as collaborators.
    3. (now offensive) A non-white male. [from 19th c.]
  2. (obsolete) A lower-class or disreputable man; a worthless person. [14th-17th c.]
  3. A young male human; a male child or young adult. [from 15th c.]
    • 2013 July 19, Ian Sample, “Irregular bedtimes may affect children's brains”, The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 6, page 34: 
      Irregular bedtimes may disrupt healthy brain development in young children, according to a study of intelligence and sleeping habits.  ¶ Going to bed at a different time each night affected girls more than boys, but both fared worse on mental tasks than children who had a set bedtime, researchers found.
    the boys were playing kickball in the mud;  Steve is a boy of 16
  4. A son.
    • Walter Scott
      My only boy fell by the side of great Dundee.
  5. A man of any age, used as a friendly diminutive, or of a man who is merely younger than the speaker. [from 17th c.]
  6. (colloquial) A male friend or fellow of some group, community etc. (mainly used in the plural). [from 19th c.]
    I’m going out for a few drinks with the boys;  me and my boy grew up together in Southside
  7. A familiar way of addressing a male dog. [from 19th c.]
    Here, boys, heel; yes, Bobby, show the puppies how, good boy!
  8. (US, slang) Heroin. [from 20th c.]

Synonyms[edit]

See also[edit]

  • (African-American): uncle

Antonyms[edit]

  • (young male): girl

Derived terms[edit]

Descendants[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Interjection[edit]

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[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

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[edit]

References[edit]

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

Statistics[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Dutch[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowing from English boy.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

boy m (plural boys, diminutive boytje n)

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

See also[edit]


French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowing from English boy.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

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.

External links[edit]


Italian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowing from English boy.

Noun[edit]

boy m (inv)

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

Ladino[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowing from Turkish boy (stature, size).

Noun[edit]

boy m (Latin spelling)

  1. age, size

Portuguese[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Shortening of office boy, from English office boy.

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

boy m (plural boys)

  1. office boy
Synonyms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Noun[edit]

boy m (plural boys)

  1. obsolete spelling of boi

Sranan Tongo[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From English boy.

Noun[edit]

boy

  1. boy

Turkish[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

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

Noun[edit]

boy (definite accusative [[{{{1}}}#Turkish|{{{1}}}]], plural [[{{{2}}}#Turkish|{{{2}}}]])

  1. stature
    Boyun ne kadar? ― How tall are you? (lit. "How much is your stature?")
  2. size
    küçük boy ― small size
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

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

Noun[edit]

boy (definite accusative [[{{{1}}}#Turkish|{{{1}}}]], plural [[{{{2}}}#Turkish|{{{2}}}]])

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