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noun, plural bo·los.
  1. a large, heavy, single-edged knife or machete for hacking, used in the Philippines and by the U.S. Army.

Origin of bolo1

1900–05; < Philippine Spanish; further origin uncertain


[boh-loh]U.S. Military Slang.
noun, plural bo·los.
  1. a soldier who does not meet the minimum standards of marksmanship.
verb (used without object), bo·loed, bo·lo·ing.
  1. to fail to meet the minimum standards of marksmanship.

Origin of bolo2

First recorded in 1915–20; said to be after Bolo Pascha (died 1918), German agent in France during World War I


  1. bolo tie.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for bolo


noun plural -los
  1. a large single-edged knife, originating in the Philippines

Word Origin

Philippine Spanish, probably from a native word
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 bolo



"traitor," 1917, from Paul Bolo, French adventurer shot for treason April 17, 1918; used in World War I with reference to pacifist propagandists; later somewhat assimilated to Bolshevik (q.v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper