• 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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[baw-see, bos-ee]
adjective, boss·i·er, boss·i·est.
  1. studded with bosses.
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Origin of bossy2

First recorded in 1535–45; boss2 + -y1


[bos-ee, baw-see]
noun, plural bos·sies.
  1. a familiar name for a cow or calf.
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Origin of bossy3

An Americanism dating back to 1835–45; boss3 + -y2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for bossy

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "No wonder Miss Alice Fern is so bossy with him," she thought.

  • Now that Bossy is gone, I don't know what we are going to do for milk.

    At the Little Brown House

    Ruth Alberta Brown

  • I thought it would make you more conceited and bossy than ever.

    Etheldreda the Ready

    Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

  • "You're a bossy sort of slob, Heslet Quillan," she said equably.


    James H Schmitz

  • How was she going to get on with such jolty, jerky, bossy people?

    The Rainbow

    D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence

British Dictionary definitions for bossy


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 bossy


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