Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of boy
Meaning of boy by Wiktionary Dictionary


    Painting of a boy.


    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 ( “boy” ), and probably to the Old English proper name Bōia. Also related to 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 .

    Alternative forms

    • boi ( Jamaican English )


    • IPA: /bɔɪ/, X-SAMPA: /bOI/
    • ( Southern US English ) IPA: /bɔːə/
    • Rhymes: -ɔɪ


    boy ( plural: boys )

    1. A young male human .
      The boys were playing kickball in the mud .
      Steve is a boy of 16 .
    2. A man of any age, used as a friendly diminutive, or of a man who is merely younger than the speaker .
      Whatever else you say about him, the boy can play .
    3. ( now rare ) A male servant .
      When the 'dipenda' ( independence movement ) in Belgian Congo turned violent, the white colonisators' often materially privileged black domestic boys were mistrusted and often abused as collaborators .
    4. ( US, offensive, pejorative, historical ) A non-white slave or labourer; a male African-American of any age .
    5. ( obsolete, pejorative ) A lower-class or disreputable man; a worthless person.
      • 1608, William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act I Scene 4:
        Dost thou call me fool, boy?
    6. An adult male, particularly when used by straight women or gay men to refer to someone considered attractive .
    7. ( informal ) Male ( usually adult ) friend; mainly used in the plural: boys .
      I’m going out for a few drinks with the boys .
      Me and my boy grew up together in Southside .
    8. ( endearing ) A proud parent's son, regardless of age .
      That's my boy .
    9. ( endearing ) A caring owner's pet or working animal, regardless of age .
      Here, boys, heel; yes, Bobby, show the puppies how, good boy!


    See also

    • ( African-American ): uncle



    • Irish: boyo
    • Vietnamese: bồi



    1. Exclamation of surprise, pleasure or longing .
      "Boy, that was close!"
      "Boy, that tastes good!"
      "Boy, I wish I could go to Canada!"

    Related terms

    See also

    See also

    • Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, Springfield, Massachusetts, G.&C. Merriam Co., 1967


    • frequency based on Project Gutenberg corpus">Most common English words before 1923: five · need · met · #395: boy · c. · strong · dead


Explanation of boy by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. offensive and disparaging term for Black man

    2. get out of my way, boy
    3. a friendly informal reference to a grown man

    4. he likes to play golf with the boys
    5. a youthful male person

    6. the baby was a boy
      she made the boy brush his teeth every night
      most soldiers are only boys in uniform
    7. a male human offspring

    8. his boy is taller than he is

    Definition of boy by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Boy n. [Cf. D. boef, Fries. boi, boy; akin to G. bube, Icel. bofi rouge.]
      1. A male child, from birth to the age of puberty; a lad; hence, a son.

      My only boy fell by the side of great Dundee. Sir W. Scott.

      ☞ Boy is often used as a term of comradeship, as in college, or in the army or navy. In the plural used colloquially of members of an associaton, fraternity, or party.

      2. 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. [derog.]

      He reverted again and again to the labor difficulty, and spoke of importing boys from Capetown. Frances Macnab.

      Boy bishop, 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. -- The Old Boy, the Devil. [Slang] -- Yellow boys, guineas. [Slang, Eng.] -- Boy's love, a popular English name of Southernwood ( Artemisia abrotonum ); -- called also lad's love. -- Boy's play, childish amusements; anything trifling.

    2. Boy, v. t. To act as a boy; -- in allusion to the former practice of boys acting women's parts on the stage.

      I shall see

      Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness. Shak.