from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A male child.
  • noun A son.
  • noun Often Offensive A man, especially a young man.
  • noun Informal A man socializing in a group of men.
  • noun Offensive A male servant or employee.
  • interjection Used to express mild astonishment, elation, or disgust.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To treat as a boy, or as something belonging to or befitting a boy.
  • To act or represent in the manner of a boy: in allusion to the acting by boys of women's parts on the stage.
  • noun In India, as far north as the Nerbudda river, a palankin-bearer. Yule and Burnell, Anglo-Ind. Glossary.
  • noun A male child, from birth to full growth, but especially from the end of infancy to the beginning of youth: also applied to a young man, implying immaturity, want of vigor or judgment, etc.
  • noun In familiar or playful use (usually in the plural), a grown man regarded as one of the younger members of a family, as an intimate friend or associate, or as having in any respect a boyish relation or character.
  • noun Specifically, in the United States— In the South, especially before the abolition of slavery, a negro man.
  • noun An unscrupulous local politician, especially in a large city; one of the managers or subordinates of the “machine” of a party in local politics and elections: as, a ticket not acceptable to the boys.
  • noun A young servant; a page: as, “boys, grooms, and lackeys,”
  • noun [Supposed by some to be “a corruption of Hind. bhaiee, a servant”; but the Hind. word, prop. bhāī, means ‘brother,’ and boy in this use is merely the E. word. Cf. boy.] In India and the treaty-ports of China and Japan, etc., a native male servant, especially a personal servant; a butler or waiter, house-boy, office-boy, etc., as distinguished from a coolie or porter: in common use among foreigners.
  • noun Old boy, a familiar name for the devil.
  • noun Roaring boys. See roaring.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To act as a boy; -- in allusion to the former practice of boys acting women's parts on the stage.
  • noun A male child, from birth to the age of puberty; a lad; hence, a son.
  • noun derog. In various countries, a male servant, laborer, or slave of a native or inferior race; also, any man of such a race; -- considered derogatory by those so called, and now seldom used.
  • noun a boy (usually a chorister) elected bishop, in old Christian sports, and invested with robes and other insignia. He practiced a kind of mimicry of the ceremonies in which the bishop usually officiated.
  • noun [Slang] the Devil.
  • noun [Slang, Eng.] guineas.
  • noun a popular English name of Southernwood (Artemisia abrotonum); -- called also lad's love.
  • noun childish amusements; anything trifling.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Male servant.
  • interjection Exclamation of surprise, pleasure or longing.
  • verb To use the word boy to refer to someone.
  • verb transitive To act as a boy (in allusion to the former practice of boys acting women's parts on the stage).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a male human offspring
  • noun (ethnic slur) offensive and disparaging term for Black man
  • noun a friendly informal reference to a grown man
  • noun a youthful male person


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

[Middle English boi, male servant, churl, young male, possibly from Old French embuié, person in fetters, from past participle of embuier, to fetter, from buie, fetter, shackle, from Latin bōia, collar or yoke used to restrain criminals, probably from Greek boeiā (dorā), (skin) of an ox, an ox hide (such restraints being made from ox hide), from feminine of boeios, of an ox or oxen, of ox hide, from bous, ox; see gwou- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English boy, boye ("servant, commoner, knave, boy"), from Old English *bōia (“boy”), from Proto-Germanic *bōjô (“younger brother, young male relation”), from Proto-Germanic *bō- (“brother, close male relation”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰā-, *bʰāt- (“father, elder brother, brother”). Cognate with Scots boy ("boy"), Eastern Frisian boi ("boy, young gentleman"), West Frisian boai ("boy"), Middle Dutch boi, booi ("boy"), Low German Boi ("boy"), and probably to the Old English proper name Bōia. Also related to West Flemish boe ("brother"), Norwegian dialectal boa ("brother"), Dutch boef ("rogue, knave"), German dialectal Bube ("boy, lad, knave"), Icelandic bófi ("rogue, crook, bandit, knave"). See also bully.


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