[ boot ]
See synonyms for: bootboots on

  1. a covering of leather, rubber, or the like, for the foot and ankle, and usually all or part of the leg: She wore knee-high boots over her jeans.This plaid shirt will look great with distressed black jeans and a cute pair of ankle boots.

  2. an overshoe, especially one of rubber or other waterproof material: His rain boots protect his dress shoes from the mud.

  1. any sheathlike protective covering: You can use a stiff piece of paper or foil as a boot for a damaged bicycle tire.

  2. a protective covering for the foot and part of the leg of a horse.

  3. a protecting cover or apron for the driver's seat of an open vehicle.

  4. the receptacle into which the top of a convertible car fits when lowered, or the cloth covering for it.

  5. British. the trunk of an automobile: The spare tire's in the boot.

  6. a kick.

  7. the boot, Slang. a dismissal; discharge: They gave him the boot for coming in late.

  8. Computers. an act or instance of starting up a computer or program.

  9. a rubber covering for the connection between each spark-plug terminal and ignition cable in an automotive ignition system.

  10. Also called Denver boot. a metal device attached to the wheel of a parked car so that it cannot be driven away until a fine is paid or the owner reports to the police: used by police to catch scofflaws.

  11. an instrument of torture for the leg, consisting of a kind of vise extending from the knee to the ankle, tightened around the leg by means of screws.

  12. U.S. Navy, Marines. a recruit.

  13. Music. the box that holds the reed in the reed pipe of an organ.

  14. Informal. a sensation of pleasure or amusement: Watching that young skater win a gold medal gave me a real boot.

  15. Baseball. a fumble of a ball batted on the ground, usually to the infield.

verb (used with object)
  1. to kick; drive by kicking: The boy booted a tin can down the street.

  2. Football. to kick.

  1. Baseball. to fumble (a ground ball).

  2. Computers.

    • to start (a computer) by loading and initializing the operating system (often followed by up): I can't do that on my tablet so I'll have to boot up my desktop.

    • to start (a program) by loading the first few instructions, which will then bring in the rest (often followed by up).

  3. Slang. to expel; discharge: They booted him out of school for selling drugs.

  4. to put boots on; equip or provide with boots.

  5. to attach a Denver boot to: Police will boot any car with unpaid fines.

  6. to torture with a vise tightened around the leg by means of screws.

verb (used without object)
  1. Computers. to start a computer or program, or be started in this way (often followed by up): My laptop won't boot and shows a blank screen.

Idioms about boot

  1. bet one's boots, to be sure or certain: You can bet your boots I'll be there!

  2. boots on the ground,

    • troops or forces who are physically present in a military campaign, law enforcement operation, or the like: Will NATO put boots on the ground to enforce the agreement?

    • people who are physically present to carry out work: Some of our volunteers work online, and others work as boots on the ground in several locations.

  1. die with one's boots on, : Also especially British, die in one's boots.

    • to die while actively engaged in one's work, profession, etc.

    • to die fighting, especially in battle, or in some worthy cause.

  2. get a boot, Informal. to derive keen enjoyment: I really got a boot out of his ridiculous stories.

Origin of boot

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English bote, boote, from Anglo-French, Old French bote; of uncertain origin

Words Nearby boot

Other definitions for boot (2 of 3)

[ boot ]

  1. Archaic. something given into the bargain.

  2. Obsolete.

    • advantage.

    • remedy; relief; help.

verb (used with or without object)
  1. Archaic. to be of profit, advantage, or avail (to): It boots thee not to complain.

Origin of boot

First recorded before 1000; Middle English bote, Old English bōt “advantage”; cognate with Dutch boete, German Busse, Old Norse bōt, Gothic bota;see bet1, better1

Other definitions for boot (3 of 3)

[ boot ]

  1. booty; spoil; plunder.

Origin of boot

First recorded in 1585–95; special use of boot2 by association with booty1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use boot in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for boot (1 of 2)


/ (buːt) /

  1. a strong outer covering for the foot; shoe that extends above the ankle, often to the knee: See also chukka boot, top boot, Wellington boots, surgical boot

  2. an enclosed compartment of a car for holding luggage, etc, usually at the rear: US and Canadian name: trunk

  1. a protective covering over a mechanical device, such as a rubber sheath protecting a coupling joining two shafts

  2. US and Canadian a rubber patch used to repair a puncture in a tyre

  3. an instrument of torture used to crush the foot and lower leg

  4. a protective covering for the lower leg of a horse

  5. a kick: he gave the door a boot

  6. British slang an ugly person (esp in the phrase old boot)

  7. US slang a navy or marine recruit, esp one in training

  8. computing short for bootstrap (def. 4a)

  9. bet one's boots to be certain: you can bet your boots he'll come

  10. die with one's boots on

    • to die while still active

    • to die in battle

  11. lick the boots of to be servile, obsequious, or flattering towards

  12. put the boot in slang

    • to kick a person, esp when he or she is already down

    • to harass someone or aggravate a problem

    • to finish off (something) with unnecessary brutality

  13. the boot slang dismissal from employment; the sack

  14. the boot is on the other foot or the boot is on the other leg the situation is or has now reversed

  15. too big for one's boots self-important or conceited

  1. (tr) (esp in football) to kick

  2. (tr) to equip with boots

  1. (tr) informal

    • (often foll by out) to eject forcibly

    • to dismiss from employment

  2. Also: boot up to start up the operating system of (a computer) or (of a computer) to begin operating

Origin of boot

C14 bote, from Old French, of uncertain origin

British Dictionary definitions for boot (2 of 2)


/ (buːt) /

verb(usually impersonal)
  1. archaic to be of advantage or use to (a person): what boots it to complain?

  1. obsolete an advantage

  2. dialect something given in addition, esp to equalize an exchange: a ten pound boot to settle the bargain

  1. to boot as well; in addition: it's cold and musty, and damp to boot

Origin of boot

Old English bōt compensation; related to Old Norse bōt remedy, Gothic bōta, Old High German buoza improvement

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with boot


In addition to the idioms beginning with boot

  • boot out
  • boot up

also see:

  • die with one's boots on
  • get the ax (boot)
  • kick (boot) out
  • lick someone's boots
  • pull oneself up (by the bootstraps)
  • quake in one's boots
  • to boot
  • too big for one's breeches (boots)
  • you can bet your ass (boots)

Also see undershoe.

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