Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • interj. Informal Used to show encouragement or approval to a boy or man: Attaboy! That's the way to hit a home run!

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • interj. Used to show encouragement or approval to a boy or man.
  • n. A cry of "attaboy"; an accolade.

Etymologies

Alteration of That's the boy!.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
(Can we verify(+) this etymology?) Alteration of "that's a boy!" or "that's the boy!". (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Its researchers recently received an attaboy from the author of Zlob buried in the coding of a recent variant of the Trojan.

    Microsoft reports scareware decline, praise from hackers

  • Lofty words and "attaboy" - toasts and pats on the back mean absolutely nothing.

    The fury of a veteran scorned.

  • The watch also sends reminders when users haven't run in awhile and gives "attaboy" motivational messages when they are hitting the pavement.

    Postcards From Geekopolis

  • Mayor Vincent Gray attended last night's hoops tilt between the George Washington University Colonials and the La Salle Explorers "expecting a brief 'attaboy' from his alma mater," the Post's Steve Hendrix writes today.

    DeMorning DeBonis: Jan. 6, 2010

  • • Bikers Thank LaHood: The transportation secretary gets an "attaboy" from 275 pedestrian and bicycle-friendly organizations on Friday outside DOT headquarters in Washington.

    'Don't ask' repeal passes... now what?

  • All my life, I've noticed a huge difference between the people who work for themselves and have to accomplish something to get paid, and people who've spent their time climbing the "attaboy" ladder.

    OpEdNews - Diary: Spleen Venting

  • Good patriotic American Christian Republicans have no trouble seeing that a Texan like George W. Bush deserves an "attaboy" for his use of extreme questioning because the results saved American lives.

    Zen and the Art of Hoaxes

  • By not only not correcting the caller's error, but by amplifying it and giving him an "attaboy," I'd say that qualifies as an error.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • If you leave a position where you're relatively comfortable and learning some, and go to another where you're getting some more money and what one guy told me was "a sense of security," plus maybe a boss who pats you on the back with an "attaboy," you end up on the lowest rungs when it comes to "financially beneficial" (quotes funny) layoffs.

    Richard Laermer: Get Ready, Kids; Time For Musical Chairs

  • Does she owe me anything, aside from an apology and maybe a free, autographed copy of her book with an "attaboy" on the passage in question?

    Move Over, ‘Meerkat Manor’

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