• synonyms


noun, plural boo·bies.
  1. a stupid person; dunce.
  2. a gannet of the genus Sula, having a bright bill, bright feet, or both: some are endangered.
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Origin of booby1

1590–1600; earlier pooby, apparently blend of poop to befool (now obsolete) and baby; (def 2) perhaps by association with Spanish bobo < Latin balbus stuttering
Related formsboo·by·ish, adjective


noun, plural boob·ies. Slang: Sometimes Vulgar.
  1. a female breast.
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Origin of booby2

1930–35, Americanism; probably variant of earlier bubby
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for boobies

Historical Examples

  • The eggs are chalky white and cannot be distinguished from those of the other Boobies.

    The Bird Book

    Chester A. Reed

  • In the morning about daybreak they arrived safely in the "Land of Boobies."


    C. Collodi

  • All the boys vied with each other in taking places in his coach, to be conducted to the "Land of Boobies."


    C. Collodi

British Dictionary definitions for boobies


noun plural -bies
  1. an ignorant or foolish person
  2. British the losing player in a game
  3. any of several tropical marine birds of the genus Sula : family Sulidae, order Pelecaniformes (pelicans, cormorants, etc). They have a straight stout bill and the plumage is white with darker markingsCompare gannet
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Word Origin

C17: from Spanish bobo, from Latin balbus stammering
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 boobies



1590s, from Spanish bobo "stupid person, slow bird" (used of various ungainly seabirds), probably from Latin balbus "stammering," from an imitative root (see barbarian).

Booby prize is by 1883: an object of little value given to the loser of a game; booby trap is 1850, originally a schoolboy prank; the more lethal sense developed during World War I.

At the end of every session the dominie had the satirical custom of presenting his tawse as a "booby-prize" to some idle or stupid lout whom he picked out as meriting this distinction so that next time they met he might start fresh and fair with new pair for a new set of classes. [Ascott R. Hope, "Dumps," "Young England" magazine, 1883]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper