• 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 booby

Historical Examples

  • Old Booby had left the door open, and 'twas right under the gallery that he was to work.

    Mrs. Tree

    Laura E. Richards

  • I paid a visit also to my cousin, Booby Skipwith, as he was called.

  • And the second would snicker and repeat the ugly word, "Booby!"

    The Laughing Prince

    Parker Fillmore

  • A course was now held for Booby Island, where we anchored in the evening (the 23rd).

  • But bad as a Booby may be as a Boss, what about a colossal Chimra?

British Dictionary definitions for booby


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 booby


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