Definition of board in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /bɔːd/


1A long, thin, flat piece of wood or other hard material, used for floors or other building purposes: loose boards creaked as I walked on them [mass noun]: sections of board
More example sentences
  • Rusted sheet metal, asphaltic roofing, old boards, or slate tiles are other roofing alternatives.
  • The rough stucco was replaced with random-length tongue-and-groove boards to create an old-fashioned look.
  • Nail or screw down loose boards or fittings, and clean all the gaps thoroughly.
plank, beam, panel, slat, batten, timber, length of timber, piece of wood, lath
1.1 (the boards) informal The stage of a theatre: he will be on the boards at Stratford tonight
More example sentences
  • He is on the boards of the Abbey Theatre and Sutton Park School in Dublin.
  • One artistic work that stupendously manages this neat feat of perspective is the musical Cabaret, currently on the boards of the Citadel Theatre.
  • Some have gone from being on the boards to back stage.
1.2 (the board) Australian /NZ The part of the floor of a shearing shed where the shearers work.
Late 19th century: originally boards running alongside the pens
Example sentences
  • A raised board minimises interference between shearers and shed workers by giving the shearers their own work area above the wool room floor.
  • A decision in the NSW Supreme Court of appeal on the 21 July 2006 has signalled to woolgrowers the importance of placing a guard rail on raised shearing boards.
  • The shearing board should be kept free of locks and must be swept after each animal is shorn.
2A thin, flat piece of wood or other stiff material used for various purposes, in particular:
Example sentences
  • I've checked the boards, the panels and the wiring.
  • Some architects were dabbling with it from the very beginning, he says, but most were still tied to hand drawings and drafting boards.
  • You may want to spread a sheet of plywood as a kneeling board over the newly laid tile as you continue to work.
2.1A vertical surface on which to write or pin notices: teachers talk and write on the board
More example sentences
  • Those of you that were unemployed several years ago may remember display boards with attached hand written postcards advertising job vacancies.
  • Desks were moved to the walls, books were placed in the appropriate places and the rules were written on the board.
  • Mary is often forced to dodge missiles when she turns her back on her 31-member class to write on the board.
2.2A horizontal surface on which to cut things, play games, or perform other activities: Pete set the pieces out on the board
More example sentences
  • In the game, players take turns to push coins up a board with horizontal lines across it.
  • As time passed, the game evolved, with boards consisting of 10x10 and later 13x13 grids at different periods while the number of stones increased.
  • Sadly, most of the game boards have been damaged beyond recognition.
2.3A flat insulating sheet used as a mounting for an electronic circuit: a graphics board
More example sentences
  • Now he has graduated to reading electronics magazines and relishes at the thought of circuitry boards and diagrams and putting together all manner of devices.
  • The company says the chipsets are optimized for Quadro boards, yet support other graphics boards.
  • It estimates that 70 per cent of graphic boards built this year will use DDR DRAM, and that it has 80 per cent of this business.
2.4The piece of equipment on which a person stands in surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, and certain other sports: you kick-turn with both feet on the board
More example sentences
  • A board fastened to your feet enables jumps and elaborate tricks to be carried out.
  • Well basically it's sky-diving with a board fixed to your feet.
  • The sport combines elements of surfing on a board with the added dimension of a kite.
2.5 (boards) Pieces of thick stiff card used for book covers.
Example sentences
  • Thus then you may perceive what be the boards of this book, and what be the leaves; how it is written within and without; how it is lined and leathered, and what be the letters, as well the small as the great.
  • The innards of the book are carefully cut out, leaving only the book boards (front, back and spine).
  • First, I say, that a book hath two boards: the two boards of this book are the two parts of the cross, for when the book is opened and spread, the leaves be couched upon the boards.
2.6 (boards) The structure, typically of wood surmounted with panels of glass, surrounding an ice-hockey rink.
Example sentences
  • Running into the boards in the rinks these days is like running into a brick wall.
  • When he was cut on the cheek with a skate blade during one battle near the boards, he immediately got the wound patched up and was ready to go again.
  • Pucks crack against the boards, glass and goalposts.
2.7 (boards) Basketball informal term for backboard.
Example sentences
  • Right now, my team needs more aggression on the boards.
  • He is scoring less but doing a nice job on the boards and blocks.
  • Even if the club makes the playoffs, it won't be a factor until the players get more easy baskets and hold their own on the boards.
3 [treated as singular or plural] A group of people constituted as the decision-making body of an organization: he sits on the board of directors [as modifier]: a board meeting
More example sentences
  • At a meeting of 14 board members, the decision was taken unanimously to organize a street demonstration.
  • Most corporations paid directors for attending board and committee meetings.
  • All the decisions taken were fully informed decisions of a conscientiously acting board or body of trustees.
committee, council, panel, directorate, commission, group, delegation, delegates, trustees, panel of trustees, convocation;
British  quango
4 [mass noun] The provision of regular meals when one stays somewhere, in return for payment or services: board and lodging
More example sentences
  • Room and board, a small monthly stipend and unlimited access to studio space are provided.
  • Room and board are the student's responsibility, as is the financing of tuition.
  • He also highlighted that the asylum seeker does get meals and board.
food, meals, daily meals, provisions, sustenance, nourishment, fare, diet, menu, table, bread, daily bread, foodstuffs, refreshments, edibles;
keep, maintenance, upkeep;
Scottish  vivas
informal grub, nosh, eats, chow, scoff
formal comestibles, provender
archaic vittles, commons, victuals, viands, aliment
4.1 [count noun] archaic A table set for a meal: he looked at the banquet which was spread upon his board
More example sentences
  • Here the meals were prepared, and they were brought hence by “our man” on a tray, into the “large house,” where the board was spread.
  • He arose when he heard the household stir, and went down to the table, where the board was laid with fresh, hot bread and butter, and golden honeycomb, with strawberries and cream in bowls.
5 Sailing A distance covered by a vessel in a single tack: we were tacking up to the anchor, shortening cable at each board


1 [with object] Get on or into (a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle): we boarded the plane for Oslo [no object]: they would not be able to board without a ticket
More example sentences
  • Finally, I was able to board the ship and find my cabin, which it appeared I was sharing with a young Polish girl, Maria.
  • He directed them to abandon ship and to board life rafts in the 25-foot seas.
  • Finally, we got on a bus and boarded the aircraft.
get on, enter, go on board, go aboard, step aboard, climb on, mount, ascend, embark;
informal hop on, jump on
formal emplane, entrain, embus
1.1 (be boarding) (Of an aircraft) be ready for passengers to get on: Flight 172 to Istanbul is now boarding
More example sentences
  • British Airways Flight BA117 is now boarding through gate number 10.
  • Two men embrace tenderly before separating, 'tickets please' calls a voice from the past, and an electric sign reads 'the 20.55 is now boarding'.
  • Flight 2723 to Atlanta is now boarding and we apologize for the long delay.
2 [no object] Live and receive regular meals in a house in return for payment or services: the cousins boarded for a while with Ruby
More example sentences
  • To pay his legal bills he had to sell his house, and for the past eight years he has boarded with a couple living in the same area.
  • And there's the couple I boarded with, who gave me the keys to the house the first night I stayed with them.
  • From September she will board at the White Lodge in Richmond Park London, the Royal Ballet's accommodation.
lodge, live, reside, have rooms, be quartered, be housed, be settled, have one's home;
North American  room
informal put up, have digs
accommodate, lodge, take in, put up, house, billet, quarter, harbour, provide shelter for, shelter, give a bed to, give someone a roof over their head, make room for, give accommodation to, receive;
keep, feed, cater for, cook for
2.1(Of a pupil) live in school during term time: parents had to cope with their child boarding at a special school
More example sentences
  • Unlike Oxford rival Summer Fields, where most pupils board, at the Dragon day pupils are in the majority.
  • These students board from Sunday night to Friday, going home for the weekend.
  • At eight, Will starts boarding at Horris Hill prep school, taking piano lessons and finally becoming head chorister.
2.2 [with object] Provide (a person or animal) with regular meals and somewhere to live in return for payment: dogs may have to be boarded at kennels
More example sentences
  • While raising her family she also used to board dogs and looked after injured animals for vets.
  • The cowboys say the Master Street stable was the last large, affordable place for them to board their horses in the city.
  • He was kept up to date with proceedings in the ring by John Clarke of the Irish National Stud, which boards the mare.
3 [with object] (board something up/over) Cover or seal a window or building with pieces of wood: the shop was still boarded up
More example sentences
  • The windows are boarded up and covered with bars.
  • One window of her terraced home is boarded up and the building has been empty since she was taken into custody last year.
  • A year ago the classrooms stood empty, the windows were boarded up, and the future of the Queen Anne School building was anything but certain.
cover up/over, close up, shut up, seal
4 [no object] Ride on a snowboard: when we’re not boarding, we’re skiing
More example sentences
  • Night skiing is an exhilarating experience you won't want to miss when fellow skiers gather to ski or board down the main run each night with flares in hand.
  • My friends and I love to board.
  • I guess my best day out of the whole trip was Friday, where we boarded across to the two lower and relatively small runs on Super Morzine.



go by the board

(Of something planned or previously upheld) be abandoned, rejected, or ignored: my education just went by the board
Earlier in nautical use meaning 'fall overboard', used of a mast falling past the board, i.e. the side of the ship
More example sentences
  • The longed-for tour to New Zealand went by the board.
  • Weeks of planning went by the board when it poured down and the barriers blocking the way into Albert Square were lifted with more than two hours to go.
  • Opponents deserved no respect and the conventions of war went by the board.

on board

On or in a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle: a plane crashed with three people on board
More example sentences
  • After a quick assessment he was taken on board the aircraft.
  • Mr Kelly said the 770 passengers on board the ship were preparing to disembark.
  • Christopher Columbus reputedly chanced upon hammocks in Haiti and sailors were soon slumbering in them on board ship.
informal2.1 On to a team as a member: the need to bring on board a young manager
More example sentences
  • After the company took over, how was the new management team brought on board?
  • Two prominent dating experts have been brought on board to assist members in their search.
  • We have an exceptional team on board with over two dozen national and international advertising awards between them.
informal2.2 (Of a jockey) riding: the rider of the winner last time is on board today
More example sentences
  • They had two winners but neither had usual stable jockey McCoy on board.
  • Champion jockey Tony McCoy, on board Best Mate, finished in second while Bacchanal took third.
  • Etherington has booked Paul Fessey to ride Evening Press, the same jockey who was on board last time she ran.

take something on board

informal Fully consider or assimilate a new idea or situation: we’ve got to take accusations of sexism on board
More example sentences
  • I am not surprised the idea has not been taken on board.
  • After a lot of discussion with you all, your ideas have been taken on board.
  • We feel people are taking these things on board, following advice and genuinely complying with regulations.

tread (or walk) the boards

informal Appear on stage as an actor: the 1,500-seat theatre where generations of actors trod the boards
More example sentences
  • George is an actor who has trod the boards with many of the big names in British theatre.
  • A theatre company whose actors have been treading the boards for 20 years in Swindon has received a big cash boost.
  • Lured to the stage, he trod the boards for fifteen years as an actor, producer, and playwright.


Old English bord, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch boord and German Bort; reinforced in Middle English by Old French bort 'edge, ship's side' and Old Norse borth 'board, table'.

  • It is more difficult to cheat at cards if your hands are clearly visible above the table. This is where the expression above board comes from. Board is an old word for table, as well as the planks that make it, and if a card player was playing ‘above board’ they were showing that they were not trying to cheat. The members of the board that runs a company typically sit round a large table in the boardroom, and it is again the meaning ‘table’ that gives them their name. See also cabinet

    The expression across the board originally comes from horse racing. A bet made ‘across the board’ is one in which you stake equal amounts of money on the same horse to win a race, to come second, or to finish in the first three. The board here is one on which bookmakers write up the odds. Go by the board was originally said at sea of masts and pieces of rigging that fell overboard. The board in this case was the side of the ship, and is used also in on board, overboard (Old English), and shipboard (Middle English).

Words that rhyme with board

aboard, abroad, accord, afford, applaud, award, bawd, broad, chord, Claude, cord, ford, fraud, gaud, Gawd, hoard, horde, laud, lord, maraud, milord, sward, sword, toward, unawed, unexplored, unrestored, ward

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: board

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.