verb (used with object)
- to start (a computer) by loading and initializing the operating system (often followed by up).
- to start (a program) by loading the first few instructions, which will then bring in the rest (often followed by up).
verb (used without object)
- to die while actively engaged in one's work, profession, etc.
- to die fighting, especially in battle, or in some worthy cause.
Origin of boot1
- to die while still active
- to die in battle
- to kick a person, esp when he or she is already down
- to harass someone or aggravate a problem
- to finish off (something) with unnecessary brutality
- (often foll by out)to eject forcibly
- to dismiss from employment
Word Origin for boot
verb (usually impersonal)
Word Origin for boot
footwear, early 14c., from Old French bote "boot" (12c.), with corresponding words in Provençal and Spanish, of unknown origin, perhaps from a Germanic source. Originally for riding boots only. An old Dorsetshire word for "half-boots" was skilty-boots [Halliwell, Wright].
"profit, use," Old English bot "help, relief, advantage; atonement," literally "a making better," from Proto-Germanic *boto (see better (adj.)). Cf. German Buße "penance, atonement," Gothic botha "advantage." Now mostly in phrase to boot (Old English to bote).
"start up a computer," 1975, from bootstrap (v.), a 1958 derived verb from bootstrap (n.) in the computer sense.
"to kick," 1877, American English, from boot (n.1). Generalized sense of "eject, kick out" is from 1880. Related: Booted; booting.
die with one's boots on
Also, die in harness. Expire while working, keep working to the end, as in He'll never retire—he'll die with his boots on, or She knows she'll never get promoted, but she wants to die in harness. Both phrases probably allude to soldiers who died on active duty. Until the early 1600s the noun boot denoted a piece of armor for the legs, which may have given rise to this usage; and Shakespeare used harness in the sense of armor when he wrote: “At least we'll die with harness on our back” (Macbeth 5:5).
In addition to the idioms beginning with boot
- boot out
- boot up
- die with one's boots on
- get the ax (boot)
- kick (boot) out
- lick someone's boots
- pull oneself up (by the bootstraps)
- quake in one's boots
- to boot
- too big for one's breeches (boots)
- you can bet your ass (boots)
Also see undershoe.