- a range of sizes from 8 to 20 in garments made for boys.
- a garment in this size range.
- the department or section of a store where these garments are sold.
interjection Also oh, boy .
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Origin of boy
usage note for boy
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH boyboy , buoy
Words nearby boy
BEHIND THE WORD
Where does the word boy come from?
Like girl, boy dates back to around 1250–1300. Also like the word girl, the ultimate origin of the word boy is obscure.
There are some clues to the roots of boy, however. It might be based on the Old English Bōia, a male given name. Furthermore, boy is related to the Frisian boi, “young man,” and the German Bube, “knave, boy, lad.” (Frisian, a language spoken in the northern Netherlands, is the Germanic language most closely related to English.) Interestingly, that German sense of “knave” is close in meaning to “male servant,” one of the earliest uses of boy.
Boy isn’t alone: it finds lots of company in other English words that seem simple but whose origins are not. Discover more in our slideshow “‘Dog,’ ‘Boy,’ And Other Words That We Don’t Know Where They Came From.”
Did you know … ?
While boy usually means a male child, there are multiple instances where boy refers to a young adult or adult man. For instance, a boy band is often made up of young adult male performers, and a cowboy is a man that works on a ranch with cows. Adult men may also sometimes refer to his buddies as his boys or the boys. Parents will also frequently refer to their sons as their boys regardless of their age. Boy appears in countless expressions, from bad boy to boy oh boy!
Please note: calling Black adult men or other male members of minority groups boy is offensive. Read our Usage Note for more important context.
Example sentences from the Web for boy
There are several other reasons, including that oftentimes when there is an option of sending one child to school, families will send the boy.Malala Yousafzai tells the business community: Education is the best way to guard against future crises|Michal Lev-Ram, writer|September 15, 2020|Fortune
When an imam refused to speak with a girl, she sent a boy from her organization in her place.The Teenager Breaking Up Child Marriages, Door to Door|Pallabi Munsi|September 2, 2020|Ozy
She didn’t mind that Charlie didn’t play sports as the other boys did.
Once, while volunteering in a first-grade classroom, I even accidentally kissed the wrong boy because the back of his head looked like my son’s.
His condition improved more lastingly only after his physician, Ogden Bruton, discovered that the boy had almost no gamma globulins in his blood.Our Genes May Explain Severity of COVID-19 and Other Infections|Monique Brouillette|July 27, 2020|Quanta Magazine
In the 90s, it kept gay men out of leadership roles in the Boy Scouts of America.Freaking Out About Age Gaps in Gay Relationships Is Homophobic|Samantha Allen|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST
This is Bey and Nicki at their most lyrically masochistic, and boy, is it a treat.The 14 Best Songs of 2014: Bobby Shmurda, Future Islands, Drake, and More|Marlow Stern|December 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Interviews in Serial (including ones from Adnan) do acknowledge that Jay was known as a resident bad boy at Woodlawn High School.The Deal With Serial’s Jay? He’s Pissed Off, Mucks Up Our Timeline|Emily Shire|December 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The former Virginia governor was once the golden boy of the GOP.
A sepia photo shows him as a young boy, head in his hands, with a large book open at a bar table.
A little boy of four was moved to passionate grief at the sight of a dead dog taken from a pond.Children's Ways|James Sully
You see, I'd always thought of him as the boy whom Great-aunt Lucia described having seen.The Boarded-Up House|Augusta Huiell Seaman
Poor Squinty ran and tried to hide under the straw, for he knew the boy was talking about him.
A look of passion came into the face of the watching boy, and again he fingered his revolver.The Courier of the Ozarks|Byron A. Dunn
Several times after this the boy and his sisters came to look down into the pig pen.
British Dictionary definitions for boy
Word Origin for boy
Idioms and Phrases with boy
In addition to the idiom beginning with boys
- boys will be boys
- fair-haired boy
- mama's boy
- separate the men from the boys
- whipping boy