boss + man. First used in the late 1940s, though the usage of "boss" by itself as a form of contempt or to show that one is on their guard dates back to 1552. Term seems to have originally been a pejorative term for a local official.
bossman (plural bossmen) (Plural form is rare. See usage notes.)
- (vocative) Someone whose name is unknown. Usually denotes that one is chary or extremely unfamiliar with the person being spoken to.
- "You should watch what you say, bossman."
- "I don't know what to tell you, bossman..."
- (vocative) Someone who appears stalwart and/or dauntless in both disposition and appearance. Not a term used between those who are close. Usually seen as complimentary.
- "You really showed them, bossman. What's your name?"
- "Hoy, bossman. It's been a while since you last travelled through here. Are there any new goings on?"
- Neither of the two senses of this term are synonymous with the colloquial meanings of terms such as "boss", "chief" and "governor."
- Not the same as "boss man" or "the boss man", an endearing term used to refer to one's employer.
- Because this term is a vocative, the plural is seldom used.
(cautious): friend (colloquial, sarcastic sense)