noun, plural bo·as.

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for boa

shawl, stole, bandanna, kerchief, ascot, neckwear, wrapping

Examples from the Web for boa

Contemporary Examples of boa

  • Most of them had picked their own clothes without a stylist, so there was a lot of boa and fringe and sparkles.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Joan Rivers Won't Shut Up (Thank God)

    Jacob Bernstein

    January 24, 2011

  • Mack, according to reports, used his winnings to fill his home with Rottweilers, tarantulas, and a boa constrictor.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Lotto Death Curse

    Anneli Rufus

    February 19, 2010

Historical Examples of boa

  • 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.

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

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 for boa

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

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