views updated Jun 11 2018

boy / boi/ • n. 1. a male child or young man: a group of six boys. ∎  a son: she put her little boy to bed. ∎  a male child or young man who does a specified job: a delivery boy.2. used informally or lightheartedly to refer to a man: the inspector was a local boy. ∎ dated used as a friendly form of address from one man to another, often from an older man to a young man: my dear boy, don't say another word! ∎  used as a form of address to a male dog: down boy, down!• interj. inf. used to express strong feelings, esp. of excitement or admiration: oh boy, that's wonderful!PHRASES: the big boys men or organizations considered to be the most powerful and of the boys an accepted member of a group, esp. a group of men: he expected to be treated just like one of the boys.DERIVATIVES: boy·hood n.


views updated May 23 2018

boy boy bishop one of the choirboys formerly elected at the annual ‘Feast of Boys’ in certain cathedrals, to walk in a procession of the boys to the altar of the Innocents or of the Holy Trinity, and perform the office on the eve and day of the Holy Innocents, the boys occupying the canons' stalls in the cathedral during the service. Provision for this is made in the Sarum Office.

The custom dates from the 13th century, and lasted until the Reformation. Boy bishops were appointed also in religious houses and in schools.
never send a boy to do a man's job a young or inexperienced person should not be given work beyond their capacities. Saying recorded from the mid 20th century.
you can take the boy out of the country but you can't take the country out of the boy even when a person moves away from the place they were brought up in, they retain its essential manners and customs. Recorded from the mid 20th century and of North American origin; it has generated a large number of humorous by-forms.

See also boys, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.


views updated May 21 2018

boy †male servant; youth or man of low estate; ‘fellow’, ‘knave’ XIII; young male child XIV; native servant, negro slave XVII. ME. boi(e), prob. aphetic — AN. *abuié, *embuié, pp. of OF. embuier fetter :- L. *imboiāre, f. IM-1 + boia fetter — Gr. boeíai (doāi) ox-hides, f. boûs ox, COW1. The primary meaning would be ‘man in fetters’, hence ‘slave’, ‘serf’.


views updated May 17 2018