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See also: house boy and house-boy



From house +‎ boy (young male; (historical or offensive) non-white male servant regardless of age).[1]



houseboy (plural houseboys)

  1. (chiefly historical) A young male domestic servant, especially in a British colony in former times.
    Coordinate terms: housegirl, housemaid
    • 1935, Ralph Lionel German, Handbook to British Malaya, 1935, [London]: [R. L. German]: Obtainable from the Malay Information Agency, Waterlow and Sons, →OCLC, page 50:
      House servants are usually either Chinese or Tamil, the former predominating, especially in towns of any size. The domestic staff will in general consist of a houseboy (in large establishments two houseboys), a water carrier (tukang ayer), whose duties include washing dishes and preparing baths, a cook, a gardener, a chauffeur or sais, and perhaps an ayah (if Chinese, amah) or two, according to the size of the family.
    • 1949, Office of International Trade; Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, International Reference Service, volume 6, Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, →OCLC, page 64:
      A married man with a family of three living in a private house will require in most cases a cook, houseboy, an amah (female servant) for washing and ironing, a second amah to take care of small children or infants, and one or possibly two gardeners depending on the size of the lot. A syce (chauffeur) is optional in each individual case. Cooks, houseboys, and amahs are usually Chinese, while gardeners and chauffeurs are Malay.
  2. (chiefly historical, derogatory, offensive) A non-white adult male domestic servant.

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  1. ^ house boy, n.” under “house, n.1 and int.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2021; “houseboy, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]



From English houseboy.



  1. An errand boy; a houseboy.
    Synonyms: boy, muchacho, mutsatso