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verb (used without object)
  1. to speak with exaggeration and excessive pride, especially about oneself.
  2. to speak with pride (often followed by of): He boasted of his family's wealth.
verb (used with object)
  1. to speak of with excessive pride or vanity: He boasts himself a genius.
  2. to be proud in the possession of: The town boasts a new school.
  1. a thing boasted of; a cause for pride: Talent is his boast. It is her boast that she has never betrayed a friend.
  2. exaggerated or objectionable speech; bragging: empty boasts and threats.

Origin of boast1

1250–1300; Middle English bost (noun), bosten (v.), of uncertain origin
Related formsboast·ing·ly, adverbboast·less, adjective

Synonym study

1, 2. Boast, brag imply vocal self-praise or claims to superiority over others. Boast usually refers to a particular ability, possession, etc., that may be one of such kind as to justify a good deal of pride: He boasts of his ability as a singer. Brag, a more colloquial term, usually suggests a more ostentatious and exaggerated boasting but less well-founded: He brags loudly of his marksmanship.


verb (used with object) Masonry.
  1. to dress or shape (stone) roughly.

Origin of boast2

First recorded in 1815–25; of uncertain origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for boasting


  1. (intr; sometimes foll by of or about) to speak in exaggerated or excessively proud terms of one's possessions, skills, or superior qualities; brag
  2. (tr) to possess (something to be proud of)the city boasts a fine cathedral
  1. a bragging statement
  2. a possession, attribute, attainment, etc, that is or may be bragged about
Derived Formsboaster, nounboasting, noun, adjectiveboastingly, adverb

Word Origin

C13: of uncertain origin


  1. (tr) to shape or dress (stone) roughly with a broad chisel

Word Origin

C19: of unknown origin


  1. a stroke in which the ball is hit on to one of the side walls before hitting the front wall
  1. to hit (the ball) in this way or make such a stroke
Derived Formsboasted, adjective

Word Origin

C19: perhaps from French bosse the place where the ball hits the wall
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

Word Origin and History for boasting



mid-13c., "arrogance, presumption, pride, vanity;" c.1300, "a brag, boastful speech," from Anglo-French bost "ostentation," probably via Scandinavian (cf. Norwegian baus "proud, bold, daring"), from Proto-Germanic *bausia "to blow up, puff up, swell" (cf. Middle High German bus "swelling," dialectal German baustern "to swell;" Middle Dutch bose, Dutch boos "evil, wicked, angry," Old High German bosi "worthless, slanderous," German böse "evil, bad, angry"), from PIE *bhou-, variant of root *beu-, *bheu- "to grow, swell" (see bull (n.2)).

The notion apparently is of being "puffed up" with pride; cf. Old English belgan "to become angry, offend, provoke," belg "anger, arrogance," from the same root as bellows and belly (n.). Related: Boasted; boasting. An Old English word for "boasting" was micelsprecende, "big talk."



early 14c., "to brag, speak arrogantly;" from the same source as boast (n.). Related: Boasted; boasting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper