- a male child, from birth to full growth, especially one less than 18 years of age.
- a young man who lacks maturity, judgment, etc.
- Informal. a grown man, especially when referred to familiarly: He liked to play poker with the boys.
- a son: Sam's oldest boy is helping him in the business.
- a male who is from or native to a given place.
- boys, (used with a singular or plural verb)
- 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.
- boys, military personnel, especially combat soldiers: Support the boys overseas.
- Disparaging and Offensive. a term used to refer to or address a man considered by the speaker to be inferior in ethnicity, nationality, or occupational status.
- a young male servant; page.
- Offensive. (in India, China, Japan, etc.) a native male servant, working as a butler, waiter, houseboy, etc.
- Nautical. an apprentice seaman or fisherman.
- an exclamation of wonder, approval, etc., or of displeasure or contempt.
Origin of boy
Related Words for boylad, fellow, youth, youngster, child, guy, buck, puppy, stripling, runt, punk, dude, cadet, chap, master, sprout, squirt, junior, sonny, half-pint
Examples from the Web for boy
Contemporary Examples of boy
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
January 9, 2015
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
December 31, 2014
But religious tolerance would be a wholesome goodie for every boy and girl.Santa Fails One More Time
P. J. O’Rourke
December 27, 2014
All would attest to the manifest goodness that inspired the perfect nickname for the boy who would become a perfect cop.In The Shadow of Murdered Cops
December 26, 2014
As a boy, by the way, Pierre had set out from Florida in an unsuccessful canoe trip to Cuba!Canada ♥ Cuba Just Got Complicated
December 22, 2014
Historical Examples of boy
"Men say it is not so grand as the statue of Zeus, that we have at Olympia," replied the boy.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
The boy came forward, and examined the stranger with curiosity.
She won't think much of a boy that has to pick berries for a living.
It does not often fall to the lot of a boy to perform a deed so heroic.
I couldn't begin to tell you all the bad things he did when he was a boy.
- a male child; lad; youth
- a man regarded as immature or inexperiencedhe's just a boy when it comes to dealing with women
- See old boy
- informal a group of men, esp a group of friends
- usually derogatory (esp in former colonial territories) a Black person or native male servant of any age
- Australian a jockey or apprentice
- short for boyfriend
- boys will be boys youthful indiscretion or exuberance must be expected and tolerated
- jobs for the boys informal appointment of one's supporters to posts, without reference to their qualifications or ability
- the boy Irish informal the right tool for a particular taskthat's the boy to cut it
- an exclamation of surprise, pleasure, contempt, etcboy, is he going to be sorry!
Word Origin for boy
mid-13c., boie "servant, commoner, knave, boy," of unknown origin. Possibly from Old French embuie "one fettered," from Vulgar Latin *imboiare, from Latin boia "leg iron, yoke, leather collar," from Greek boeiai dorai "ox hides." (Words for "boy" double as "servant, attendant" across the Indo-European map -- e.g. Italian ragazzo, French garçon, Greek pais, Middle English knave, Old Church Slavonic otroku -- and often it is difficult to say which meaning came first.)
But it also appears to be identical with East Frisian boi "young gentleman," and perhaps with Dutch boef "knave," from Middle Dutch boeve, perhaps from Middle Low German buobe. This suggests a gradational relationship to babe. For a different conjecture:
In Old English, only the proper name Boia has been recorded. ME boi meant 'churl, servant' and (rarely) 'devil.' In texts, the meaning 'male child' does not antedate 1400. ModE boy looks like a semantic blend of an onomatopoeic word for an evil spirit (*boi) and a baby word for 'brother' (*bo). [Liberman]
A noticable number of the modern words for 'boy', 'girl', and 'child' were originally colloquial nicknames, derogatory or whimsical, in part endearing, and finally commonplace. These, as is natural, are of the most diverse, and in part obscure, origin. [Buck]
Used slightingly of young men in Middle English; meaning "male negro slave or Asian personal servant of any age" attested from c.1600. Exclamation oh, boy attested from 1892.
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