See more synonyms for showboat on
noun Also show·boat·er (for defs 2, 3).
  1. a boat, especially a paddle-wheel steamer, used as a traveling theater.
  2. Informal. show-off(def 1).
  3. a person, especially an athlete, who performs in an ostentatiously sensational manner calculated to draw attention; show-off.
verb (used without object)
  1. to perform or behave in an outrageous or spectacular manner.

Origin of showboat

An Americanism dating back to 1865–70; show + boat Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for showboat

Contemporary Examples of showboat

Historical Examples of showboat

  • And here, in the spring of the year, the calliope could be heard far down the Ohio as the showboat steamed into view.

British Dictionary definitions for showboat


  1. a paddle-wheel river steamer with a theatre and a repertory company
  1. (intr) to perform or behave in a showy and flamboyant way
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 showboat

also show-boat, 1838, "river boat on which theatrical performances are given," from show (n.) + boat (n.). The verb meaning "to show off" is attested from 1951.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper