• synonyms


[baws, bos]
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  1. a person who employs or superintends workers; manager.
  2. a politician who controls the party organization, as in a particular district.
  3. a person who makes decisions, exercises authority, dominates, etc.: My grandfather was the boss in his family.
verb (used with object)
  1. to be master of or over; manage; direct; control.
  2. to order about, especially in an arrogant manner.
verb (used without object)
  1. to be boss.
  2. to be too domineering and authoritative.
  1. chief; master.
  2. Slang. first-rate.

Origin of boss1

1640–50, Americanism; < Dutch baas master, foreman


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1. supervisor, head, foreman, chief, superintendent, administrator, overseer.


adjective Scot.
  1. hollow; empty.

Origin of boss4

First recorded in 1505–15; of obscure origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for bossest


  1. a person in charge of or employing others
  2. mainly US a professional politician who controls a party machine or political organization, often using devious or illegal methods
  1. to employ, supervise, or be in charge of
  2. (usually foll by around or about) to be domineering or overbearing towards (others)
  1. slang excellent; finea boss hand at carpentry; that's boss!

Word Origin

C19: from Dutch baas master; probably related to Old High German basa aunt, Frisian baes master


  1. a knob, stud, or other circular rounded protuberance, esp an ornamental one on a vault, a ceiling, or a shield
  2. biology any of various protuberances or swellings in plants and animals
    1. an area of increased thickness, usually cylindrical, that strengthens or provides room for a locating device on a shaft, hub of a wheel, etc
    2. a similar projection around a hole in a casting or fabricated component
  3. an exposed rounded mass of igneous or metamorphic rock, esp the uppermost part of an underlying batholith
verb (tr)
  1. to ornament with bosses; emboss

Word Origin

C13: from Old French boce, from Vulgar Latin bottia (unattested); related to Italian bozza metal knob, swelling



noun plural bosses or bossies
  1. a calf or cow

Word Origin

C19: from dialect buss calf, perhaps ultimately from Latin bōs cow, ox


n acronym for (formerly)
  1. Bureau of State Security; a branch of the South African security police
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 bossest



"overseer," 1640s, American English, from Dutch baas "a master," Middle Dutch baes, of obscure origin. If original sense was "uncle," perhaps it is related to Old High German basa "aunt," but some sources discount this theory. The Dutch form baas is attested in English from 1620s as the standard title of a Dutch ship's captain. The word's popularity in U.S. may reflect egalitarian avoidance of master (n.) as well as the need to distinguish slave from free labor. The slang adjective meaning "excellent" is recorded in 1880s, revived, apparently independently, in teen and jazz slang in 1950s.



"protuberance, button," c.1300, from Old French boce "a hump, swelling, tumor" (12c., Modern French bosse), from either Frankish *botija or Vulgar Latin *bottia, both of uncertain origin.



1856, from boss (n.1). Related: Bossed; bossing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

bossest in Medicine


  1. A circumscribed rounded swelling; a protuberance.
  2. The prominence of a kyphosis or humpback.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.