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[boh-uh] /ˈboʊ ə/
noun, plural boas.
any of several nonvenomous, chiefly tropical constrictors of the family Boidae, having vestigial hind limbs at the base of the tail.
a scarf or stole of feathers, fur, or fabric.
Origin of boa
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin: water adder Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for boa
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Between the lion and the boa constrictor, Harry was certainly lost.

    The Big Nightcap Letters Frances Elizabeth Barrow
  • Into the boa Constrictor Peckham plunged the next morning, for all he was worth.

    Peak and Prairie Anna Fuller
  • That feather from the boa, and the perfume, were sufficient evidence of her visit.

    The Doctor of Pimlico William Le Queux
  • And, if you don't mind, I'll lend you a white feather hat and boa.

    Sarah's School Friend

    May Baldwin
  • She would not look at him more; he would hear her voice no more: boa lay there, dead!

    The Book of One Syllable Esther Bakewell
  • He would think it shone so bright, to tell him that it was boa's world now.

    The Book of One Syllable Esther Bakewell
  • For the python in the Old World is quite as formidable as the boa in the New.

    The Castaways Captain Mayne Reid
  • I then asked her if she had got the muff and boa from Jim Croydon, the porter.

    The Iron Horse R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for boa


any large nonvenomous snake of the family Boidae, most of which occur in Central and South America and the Caribbean. They have vestigial hind limbs and kill their prey by constriction
a woman's long thin scarf, usually of feathers or fur
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin, from Latin: a large Italian snake, water snake
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for boa

late 14c., "large snake," from Latin boa, type of large serpent mentioned in Pliny's "Natural History;" origin unknown (in Middle English folk etymology associated with Greek bous "ox"). Extension to "snake-like coil of fur worn by ladies" is from 1836. Boa constrictor so called from 1788.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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