Definition of boy in English:


Line breaks: boy
Pronunciation: /bɔɪ


  • 2 [usually with adjective] A man, especially a young or relatively young one: I was the new boy at the office
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    • 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 (boys) informal Men who mix socially or who belong to a particular group, team, or profession: he wants to stay one of the boys our boys have finished bombing
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    • Mincing up to the two new boys on the team and asking, ‘Have you killed before?’ might seem a little abrupt.
    • As photographs emerged of British soldiers torturing prisoners - not our dear British boys!
    • Good, experienced players were omitted from the World Cup squad and the new boys didn't deliver.
  • 2.2 dated A friendly form of address from one man to another, especially 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.
  • 2.3 dated , • offensive (Often used as a form of address) a black male servant or worker.
  • 2.4A form of address to a male dog: down boy!
    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!


informal Back to top  
  • 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.


boys in blue

informal Policemen; the police: two dozen boys in blue arrive in full riot gear
More example sentences
  • Villagers are ready to step in to the boots of the boys in blue at a Bradford police station which was closed to the public for 30 years.
  • Hopefully the boys in blue and the plainclothes detectives will get things more under control.
  • Having experienced what life is like with the boys in blue, Councillor Ali will next be on ‘duty’ on 15 August when he joins a watch at Rochdale Fire Station.

boys will be boys

Used to express the view that mischievous or childish behaviour is typical of boys or young men and should not cause surprise when it occurs.
More 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.

the big boys

The most powerful and successful men or organizations: smaller supermarket chains are ganging together to beat the big boys at their own game
More 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.

that's my boy (or girl)!

Used as an expression of encouragement or admiration: Papa beamed, "That’s my boy!" Thorn gave me an approving look. "That’s my girl!"
More example sentences
  • A voice from overhead was heard saying, 'That's my boy!'!
  • Tall, lean, all in black, that's my boy!
  • Papa beamed, "That's my boy!"


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

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Pronunciation: skəʊʃ
a small amount; a little