Definition of boy in English:

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Pronunciation: /boi/


1A male child or young man: a group of six boys
More example sentences
  • It trades on facile ideas about city and country, youth and age, boys and girls.
  • There were old and young people, little boys and girls, teenagers and babies in prams.
  • The council is now made up of six boys and girls, all teenagers.
lad, schoolboy, male child, youth, young man, laddie, stripling
See also child
1.1A son: she put her little boy to bed
More example sentences
  • One night as I was tucking the boys into bed, I noticed how much longer their legs seemed since our arrival.
  • Instead of cajoling the boys into bed around 8pm, Garfield now makes sure both are tucked up by 6.30.
  • She tucked the boys into their beds, read them a story and sat with them till they fell asleep.
1.2 [with modifier] A male child or young man who does a specified job: a delivery boy
More example sentences
  • Opperman initially worked as a bicycle messenger and telegram boy.
  • She stood at the front door watching the delivery boy hop back on his bicycle and peddle away.
  • He is busy juggling being a pizza delivery boy, a physics student and a superhero.
2 [usually with adjective] Used informally or lightheartedly to refer to a man: the inspector was a local boy
More example sentences
  • Like the late Nick Drake, local boy Summers seems too fragile a creature to last very long on this planet.
  • It is not hard to see why local boy Steinbeck loved this place despite his depiction of the harshness meted out to some.
  • It will be fantastic for the young kids in Keighley to see a local boy playing in rugby league's showpiece.
2.1 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!
More example sentences
  • My dear boy - in England some of still have a drink or two at lunch even on a working day.
  • Pentheus, my dear boy, some cruel insanity-jealousy perhaps has warped your mind.
  • Wheels of fate have already begun to turn my dear boy, ones that can no longer be stopped.
2.2 dated, offensive (Often used as a form of address) a black male servant or worker.
2.3Used as a form of address to a male dog: down boy, down!
More example sentences
  • Bad dog! Down boy!
  • So during arrests he'd be yelling "Down boy! Down boy!" at the dog and journalists wrote about how hard the officer tried to get the dog off the criminal.
  • Sit! Good Boy!


Used to express strong feelings, especially of excitement or admiration: oh boy, that’s wonderful!
More example sentences
  • We managed to clean up before we called for help so as not to look conspicuous but, boy!
  • Freddy vs Jason is the battle you've been waiting to see and, boy, does it raise the bar on excitement!
  • A bitter and biting December day in Balerno is no place for niceties and, boy, did these two teams not show us any niceties.



the big boys

Men or organizations considered to be the most powerful and successful.
Example sentences
  • But one trend is clear: smaller retailers are suffering while the big boys are doing fine.
  • Somebody described hotels like ours as pilot fish for the big boys.
  • It also doesn't hurt that the big boys at Miramax are blowing their horns in support of the movie either.

boys will be boys

Used to express the view that mischievous or childish behavior is typical of boys or young men and should not cause surprise when it occurs.
Example sentences
  • I thought Halloween was over but boys will be boys and he was gathering fireworks up.
  • Robert really does seem to be saying that speed limits should only be enforced in a very few places, and… elsewhere… well… boys will be boys.
  • Biology, it seems, is why boys will be boys, and why women would do well to get over it and stop demanding that they learn to talk about their inner landscapes.

one of the boys

An accepted member of a group, especially a group of men: he expected to be treated just like one of the boys Ms. Patton is one of the boys
More example sentences
  • Did he feel like one of the boys or did they treat him like a technician?
  • But on this particular morning, he decided to try and be one of the boys with me.
  • I spent the first few years of my 12 in the Air Force trying my best to be one of the boys.


Middle English (denoting a male servant): of unknown origin.

  • A boy was originally ‘a male servant’; the origin is obscure. It is apparently identical to East Frisian boy ‘young gentleman’ and may be identical to Dutch boef ‘knave’. Although boy is used positively and indulgently in phrases such as that's the boy and one of the boys, the connotation of lower status persisted alongside this in its use as a form of address for summoning and giving orders to slaves or servants. This negative association has connections with the phrase good ole boy used to refer to a white male of the southern US portrayed as believing in simple pleasures, but with deep social and racial prejudices (1982 S. B. Flexner Listening to America 286: ‘A loyal southerner, with all the charm and prejudice the term conveys, has been widely called a good ole boy since the mid-1960s’). See also toy

Words that rhyme with boy

ahoy, alloy, Amoy, annoy, buoy, cloy, coy, destroy, employ, enjoy, Hanoi, hoi polloi, hoy, Illinois, joy, koi, oi, ploy, poi, Roy, savoy, soy, tatsoi, toy, trompe l'œil, troy

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: boy

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