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Of unknown origin. The verb is first recorded 1815; the noun, 1825. Compare Scots boost (to move; drive off; shoo away), bost, boast (to threaten; scold), Middle English boosten, bosten (to threaten).


  • IPA(key): /buːst/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːst


boost (plural boosts)

  1. A push from behind, as to one who is endeavoring to climb.
  2. Something that helps, or adds power or effectiveness; assistance.
    The controversy gave a boost to the author's sales.
  3. (physics) A coordinate transformation that changes velocity.
  4. (automotive engineering) A positive intake manifold pressure in cars with turbochargers or superchargers.

Derived terms[edit]



boost (third-person singular simple present boosts, present participle boosting, simple past and past participle boosted)

  1. (transitive) To lift or push from behind (one who is endeavoring to climb); to push up.
    • 2009, Richard L. Cave, Peace Keepers, page 39:
      Gaddis found that with his broken arm, he couldn't climb the wall. Josh grabbed his foot and boosted him up.
  2. (transitive, by extension) To help or encourage (something) to increase or improve; to assist in overcoming obstacles.
    This campaign will boost your chances of winning the election.
  3. (slang, transitive) To steal.
    • 1978, Harold J. Vetter, Ira J. Silverman, The Nature of Crime (page 296)
      It is not at all unusual or suspicious for a woman to spend a good deal of the day out shopping, and feminine clothing styles often make it relatively easy for a female shoplifter to conceal "boosted" merchandise on her person.
  4. (Canada, transitive) To jump-start a vehicle by using cables to connect the battery in a running vehicle to the battery in a vehicle that won't start.
    • 1980, Popular Mechanics (volume 154, number 4, page 152)
      It's easy to boost a dead battery, but this can be dangerous if it's done the wrong way.
    • 2004, "Doug Mitchell", how to connect for boost? (on newsgroup
      If I want to use the charged Montana battery to boost my old Summit where do I connect the negative cable on the good battery of the Montana?
    • 2010, Thomas Hurka, The Best Things in Life: A Guide to What Really Matters, page 121:
      Virtue is therefore like boosting one car battery from another: you want to connect positive to positive and negative to negative.
  5. (transitive, medicine) To give a booster shot to.
  6. (transitive, engineering) To amplify; to signal boost.

Usage notes[edit]

Derived terms[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 Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.