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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English bosten, from bost (boast, glory, noise, arrogance, presumption, pride, vanity), probably of North Germanic origin, ultimately from Proto-Germanic *bausuz (inflated, swollen, puffed up, proud, arrogant, bad). Cognate with Scots bost, boist (to threaten, brag, boast), Anglo-Norman bost (ostentation) (from Germanic). Related to Norwegian baus (proud, bold, daring), dialectal German baustern (to swell), German böse (evil, bad, angry), Dutch boos (evil, wicked, angry), West Frisian boas (bad, wicked, angry, shrewd, clever). Compare also dialectal Norwegian bausta, busta (to rush onward, make a noise).


boast (plural boasts)

  1. A brag; ostentatious positive appraisal of oneself.
  2. Something that one brags about.
    It was his regular boast that he could eat two full English breakfasts in one sitting.
  3. (squash) A shot where the ball is driven off a side wall and then strikes the front wall.
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


boast (third-person singular simple present boasts, present participle boasting, simple past and past participle boasted)

  1. (intransitive) To brag; to talk loudly in praise of oneself.
    • 2005, Plato, translated by Lesley Brown, Sophist, page 235c:
      On no account will he or any other kind be able to boast that he's escaped the pursuit of those who can follow so detailed and comprehensive a method of enquiry.
  2. (transitive) (used with "about" or "of") To speak of with pride, vanity, or exultation, with a view to self-commendation; to extol.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book II”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC:
      Lest bad men should boast / Their specious deeds.
    • 2013 June 21, Oliver Burkeman, “The tao of tech”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 2, page 27:
      The dirty secret of the internet is that all this distraction and interruption is immensely profitable. Web companies like to boast about "creating compelling content", or offering services that let you "stay up to date with what your friends are doing", [] and so on. But the real way to build a successful online business is to be better than your rivals at undermining people's control of their own attention.
  3. (obsolete) To speak in exulting language of another; to glory; to exult.
  4. (squash) To play a boast shot.
  5. (ergative) To possess something special (e.g. as a feature).
    The hotel boasts one of the best views of the sea.
    His family boasted a famous name.
    • 2020 December 2, Paul Bigland, “My weirdest and wackiest Rover yet”, in Rail, page 67:
      After dropping off travellers at Foregate Street, my train terminates at Shrub Hill - a station which boasts one of the best selection [sic] of semaphore signals left in the country.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]


boast (third-person singular simple present boasts, present participle boasting, simple past and past participle boasted)

  1. (masonry) To dress, as a stone, with a broad chisel.[1]
  2. (sculpting) To shape roughly as a preparation for the finer work to follow; to cut to the general form required.


  1. ^ 1849-1850, John Weale, Rudimentary Dictionary of Terms used in Architecture, Building, and Engineering