• synonyms


[baw-see, bos-ee]
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adjective, boss·i·er, boss·i·est.
  1. given to ordering people about; overly authoritative; domineering.
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Origin of bossy1

An Americanism dating back to 1880–85; boss1 + -y1
Related formsboss·i·ly, adverbboss·i·ness, noun


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highhanded, officious, dictational; overbearing, abrasive.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bossiness

Historical Examples

  • And what is this bossiness around the grate but some blunt, black-leaded garland?

    The Rhythm of Life

    Alice Meynell

British Dictionary definitions for bossiness


adjective bossier or bossiest
  1. informal domineering, overbearing, or authoritarian
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Derived Formsbossily, adverbbossiness, noun


  1. (of furniture) ornamented with bosses
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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 bossiness



1540s, "swelling, projecting and rounded, decorated with bosses" from boss (n.2). Meaning "domineering, fond of ordering people about" is recorded 1882, from boss (n.1) + -y (2). As a common cow name it represents Latin bos "cow" (see cow (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper