Origin of boom

1400–50; 1910–15 for def 10; late Middle English bombon, bummyn to buzz; cognate with Dutch bommen, German bummen, orig. imitative
Related formsboom·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for boom




Nautical. any of various more or less horizontal spars or poles for extending the feet of sails, especially fore-and-aft sails, for handling cargo, suspending mooring lines alongside a vessel, pushing a vessel away from wharves, etc.
  1. an outrigger used on certain aircraft for connecting the tail surfaces to the fuselage.
  2. a maneuverable and retractable pipe on a tanker aircraft for refueling another aircraft in flight.
  3. chord1(def 4).
a chain, cable, series of connected floating timbers, or the like, serving to obstruct navigation, confine floating timber, etc.
the area thus shut off.
Machinery. a spar or beam projecting from the mast of a derrick for supporting or guiding the weights to be lifted.
(on a motion-picture or television stage) a spar or beam on a mobile crane for holding or manipulating a microphone or camera.

verb (used with object)

to extend or position, as a sail (usually followed by out or off).
to manipulate (an object) by or as by means of a crane or derrick.

verb (used without object)

to sail at full speed.


    lower the boom, to take decisive punitive action: The government has lowered the boom on tax evaders.

Origin of boom

1635–45; < Dutch: tree, pole, beam
Related formsboom·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for booming

Contemporary Examples of booming

Historical Examples of booming

  • From my first sleep I was awakened by a long, booming yell from our guest outside.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • When they reached the shop where topees were to be got, she heard a familiar, booming voice.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

  • As to old Cullingworth, he is booming along as merrily as ever.

  • It was a booming voice, with a quality that dragged at the attention of the crowd.

    The Velvet Glove

    Harry Harrison

  • These are the two men; and as for Tombstone, it was booming.

    When the West Was Young

    Frederick R. Bechdolt

British Dictionary definitions for booming




to make a deep prolonged resonant sound, as of thunder or artillery fire
to prosper or cause to prosper vigorously and rapidlybusiness boomed


a deep prolonged resonant soundthe boom of the sea
the cry of certain animals, esp the bittern
a period of high economic growth characterized by rising wages, profits, and prices, full employment, and high levels of investment, trade, and other economic activityCompare depression (def. 5)
any similar period of high activity
the activity itselfa baby boom

Word Origin for boom

C15: perhaps from Dutch bommen, of imitative origin




nautical a spar to which a sail is fastened to control its position relative to the wind
a beam or spar pivoting at the foot of the mast of a derrick, controlling the distance from the mast at which a load is lifted or lowered
a pole, usually extensible, carrying an overhead microphone and projected over a film or television set
  1. a barrier across a waterway, usually consisting of a chain of connected floating logs, to confine free-floating logs, protect a harbour from attack, etc
  2. the area so barred off

Word Origin for boom

C16: from Dutch boom tree, beam
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 booming



mid-15c., earliest use was for bees and wasps, probably echoic of humming. The meaning "make a loud noise" is 15c. Cf. bomb. Meaning "to burst into prosperity" (of places, businesses, etc.) is 1871, American English. Related: Boomed; booming. Boom box first attested 1978.



"long pole," 1540s, from Scottish boun, borrowed from Dutch boom "tree, pole, beam," from a Middle Dutch word analogous to Old English beam (see beam (n.)).



in the business sense, 1873, sometimes said to be from boom (n.1), from the nautical meaning "a long spar run out to extend the foot of a sail" -- a ship "booming" being one in full sail. But it could just as well be from boom (v.) on the notion of "suddenness."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with booming


see lower the boom.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.