Origin of boss

1640–50, Americanism; < Dutch baas master, foreman

Definition for boss (2 of 4)

[ baws, bos ]
/ bɔs, bɒs /


verb (used with object)

Origin of boss

1250–1300; Middle English boce < Anglo-French: lump, growth, boil; Old French < Vulgar Latin *bottia, of uncertain origin

Definition for boss (3 of 4)

[ bos, baws ]
/ bɒs, bɔs /


a familiar name for a calf or cow.

Origin of boss

1790–1800, Americanism; compare dial. (SW England) borse, boss, buss six-month-old calf

Definition for boss (4 of 4)

[ bos ]
/ bɒs /

adjective Scot.

hollow; empty.

Origin of boss

First recorded in 1505–15; of obscure origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for boss

British Dictionary definitions for boss (1 of 4)

/ (bɒs) informal /


a person in charge of or employing others
mainly US a professional politician who controls a party machine or political organization, often using devious or illegal methods


to employ, supervise, or be in charge of
(usually foll by around or about) to be domineering or overbearing towards (others)


slang excellent; finea boss hand at carpentry; that's boss!

Word Origin for boss

C19: from Dutch baas master; probably related to Old High German basa aunt, Frisian baes master

British Dictionary definitions for boss (2 of 4)

/ (bɒs) /


a knob, stud, or other circular rounded protuberance, esp an ornamental one on a vault, a ceiling, or a shield
biology any of various protuberances or swellings in plants and animals
  1. an area of increased thickness, usually cylindrical, that strengthens or provides room for a locating device on a shaft, hub of a wheel, etc
  2. a similar projection around a hole in a casting or fabricated component
an exposed rounded mass of igneous or metamorphic rock, esp the uppermost part of an underlying batholith

verb (tr)

to ornament with bosses; emboss

Word Origin for boss

C13: from Old French boce, from Vulgar Latin bottia (unattested); related to Italian bozza metal knob, swelling

British Dictionary definitions for boss (3 of 4)



/ (bɒs) /

noun plural bosses or bossies

a calf or cow

Word Origin for boss

C19: from dialect buss calf, perhaps ultimately from Latin bōs cow, ox

British Dictionary definitions for boss (4 of 4)

/ (bɒs) /

n acronym for (formerly)

Bureau of State Security; a branch of the South African security police
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

Medicine definitions for boss

[ bôs ]


A circumscribed rounded swelling; a protuberance.
The prominence of a kyphosis or humpback.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.