bourgeoisie (n.) Look up bourgeoisie at
1707, "body of freemen in a French town," hence, "the French middle class," also extended to that of other countries, from French bourgeois, from Old French burgeis, borjois (12c.) "town dweller" (as distinct from "peasant"), from borc "town, village," from Frankish *burg "city" (from PIE root *bhergh- (2) "high," with derivatives referring to hills and hill-forts). Communist use for "the capitalist class generally" attested from 1886.
bourn (n.2) Look up bourn at
"destination," 1520s, from French borne, apparently a variant of bodne "limit, boundary, boundary stone" (see bound (n.1)). Used by Shakespeare in Hamlet's soliloquy (1602) and elsewhere, from which it entered into English poetic speech. He meant it probably in the correct sense of "boundary," but it has been taken to mean "goal" (Wordsworth, Matthew Arnold) or sometimes "realm" (Keats).
The dread of something after death, The vndiscouered Countrey; from whose Borne No Traueller returnes. ["Hamlet" III.i.79]
bourn (n.1) Look up bourn at
also bourne, "small stream," especially of the winter torrents of the chalk downs, Old English brunna, burna "brook, stream," from Proto-Germanic *brunnoz "spring, fountain" (source also of Old High German brunno, Old Norse brunnr, Old Frisian burna, German Brunnen "fountain," Gothis brunna "well"), ultimately from PIE root *bhreu- "to boil, bubble, effervesce, burn." The southern England form of northern burn.
bourse (n.) Look up bourse at
1590s, earlier burse (1550s) "meeting place of merchants," from French bourse "meeting place of merchants," literally "purse," from Old French borse "money bag, purse" (12c.), from Medieval Latin bursa "a bag" (see purse (n.)). The modern sense of "stock exchange for merchants" is by 1845, from the name of the Paris stock exchange. The term was said to have originated because in 13c. Bruges the sign of a purse (or perhaps three purses), hung on the front of the house where merchants met. Compare bursar.
bouse Look up bouse at
see booze.
boustrophedon (n.) Look up boustrophedon at
ancient form of writing with lines alternately written left-to-right and right-to-left, 1783, Greek, literally "turning as an ox in plowing," from bous "ox" (from PIE root *gwou- "ox, bull, cow") + strephein "to turn" (from PIE root *streb(h)- "to wind, turn").
bout (n.) Look up bout at
1540s, "a roundabout way" (obsolete), from Middle English bught, probably from an unrecorded Old English variant of byht "a bend," from Proto-Germanic *bukhta- (see bight (n.)). Sense evolved from "a circuit of any kind" (as of a plow) to "a round at any kind of exercise" (1570s), "a round at fighting" (1590s), "a fit of drinking" (1660s), "a fit of illness" (by 1938).
bout (adv., prep.) Look up bout at
also 'bout, short for about, mid-13c.
boutique (n.) Look up boutique at
"trendy fashion shop," 1953, earlier "small shop of any sort" (1767), from French boutique (14c.), from Old Provençal botica, from Latin apotheca "storehouse" (see apothecary). Latin apotheca directly into French normally would have yielded *avouaie.
boutonniere (n.) Look up boutonniere at
"spray of flowers worn in a buttonhole," 1877, from French boutonnière, from bouton "button" (see button (n.)).
bovine (adj.) Look up bovine at
1817, "of or like oxen," from French bovin (14c.), from Late Latin bovinus, from Latin bos (genitive bovis) "ox, cow," from PIE root *gwou- "ox, bull, cow." Figurative sense of "inert and stupid" is from 1855.
bovver Look up bovver at
1969, Cockney pronunciation of bother "trouble" (q.v.), given wide extended usage in skinhead slang.
bow (n.1) Look up bow at
"strung, elastic weapon for shooting arrows," Old English boga "archery bow; anything bent or arched, an arch, a rainbow," from Proto-Germanic *bugon (source also of Old Norse bogi, Old Frisian boga, Dutch boog, German Bogen "bow"), from PIE root *bheug- "to bend," with derivatives referring to bent, pliable, or curved objects. The sense of "a looped knot," especially an ornamental one, is from 1540s. The musician's bow (1570s) formerly was curved like the archer's.

The former popularity of the longbow as a characteristic English weapon is attested in expressions such as bow-legged; to have the bent of (one's) bow "know one's intentions or inclinations" (1560s), to shoot in (another's) bow "practice an art other than one's own;" bow-hand "the left hand," hence "on the wrong side, inaccurately;" have two strings to (one's) bow "have more than one means to accomplish something;" draw the long bow "exaggerate, lie."
bow (v.1) Look up bow at
with a short -o-, Old English bugan "to bend, become bent, have or assume a curved direction; to bow down, bend the body in condescension or reverence, to submit," also "to turn back" (class II strong verb; past tense beag, past participle bogen), from Proto-Germanic *bugon (source also of Dutch buigen, Middle Low German bugen, Old High German biogan, German biegen, Gothic biugan "to bend," Old Norse boginn "bent"), from *beugen, from PIE root *bheug- "to bend." Related: Bowed; bowing. To bow out "withdraw" is from 1942, from the notion of "exit with a bow or bows."
bow (n.2) Look up bow at
with a short -o-, "forward part of a ship," beginning where the sides trend inward, mid-14c., from a source such as Old Norse bogr, Middle Low German boog, Middle Dutch boech "bow of a ship," from Proto-Germanic *bugon-, from PIE root *bheug- "to bend," with derivatives referring to bent, pliable, or curved objects.
bow (v.2) Look up bow at
with a short -o-, "to have or assume the form of a bow," from bow (n.1), by late 18c., but difficult to distinguish in print from bow (v.1). In music, "to perform with a bow upon a stringed instrument," by 1838.
bow (n.3) Look up bow at
with a short -o-, "an inclination of the body or head" (in reverence, etc.), 1650s, from bow (v.1).
bow tie (n.) Look up bow tie at
by 1887, from bow (n.) in the sense "ribbon or other fabric tied in a bow-knot" (by 1874) + tie (n.).
bow-head (n.) Look up bow-head at
also bowhead, type of Arctic whale, 1887, from bow (n.1) + head (n.). So called for its shape.
bow-legged (adj.) Look up bow-legged at
also bowlegged, "having the legs bowed outward," 1550s, from bow (n.1) + legged.
bow-wow Look up bow-wow at
imitative of a dog's barking, first recorded 1570s.
bowdlerize (v.) Look up bowdlerize at
"to expurgate by eliminating indelicate or offensive passages," 1836, from Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825), English editor who in 1818 published a notorious expurgated Shakespeare, in which, according to his frontispiece, "nothing is added to the original text; but those words and expressions omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family." Related: Bowdlerized; bowdlerizing; bowdlerization.
bowel (n.) Look up bowel at
c. 1300, usually plural, bowels, "human organs of the abdominal cavity," from late 14c. specifically as "human intestines," from Old French boele "intestines, bowels, innards" (12c., Modern French boyau), from Medieval Latin botellus "small intestine," originally "sausage," diminutive of botulus "sausage," a word borrowed from Oscan-Umbrian.

Transferred sense of "the viscera as the seat of emotions" is from late 14c.; especially "inner parts as the seat of pity or kindness," hence "tenderness, compassion." Greek splankhnon (from the same PIE root as spleen) was a word for the principal internal organs, which also were felt in ancient times to be the seat of various emotions. Greek poets, from Aeschylus down, regarded the bowels as the seat of the more violent passions such as anger and love, but by the Hebrews they were seen as the seat of tender affections, especially kindness, benevolence, and compassion. Splankhnon was used in Septuagint to translate a Hebrew word, and from thence early Bibles in English rendered it in its literal sense as bowels, which thus acquired in English a secondary meaning of "pity, compassion" (late 14c.). But in later editions the word often was translated as heart. Bowel movement is attested by 1874.
bower (n.) Look up bower at
Old English bur "room, hut, dwelling, chamber," from Proto-Germanic *bowan (source also of Old Norse bur "chamber," Swedish bur "cage," Old Danish both "dwelling, stall," Old Saxon bur "a house; a cage," Old High German bur "dwelling, chamber," buan "to dwell," German Vogelbauer "cage" for a bird), from PIE root *bheue- "to be, exist, grow."

Modern spelling developed after mid-14c. Sense of "leafy arbor" (place closed in, shaded, or sheltered by trees) is first attested 1520s. Hence, too, Australia's bower-bird (1847), so called for the ornamented play-houses it builds.
bowery (n.) Look up bowery at
"farm, plantation," from Dutch bowerij "homestead farm" (from the same source as bower); a Dutch word probably little used in America outside New York, and there soon limited to one road, The Bowery, that ran from the built-up part of the city out to the plantations in middle Manhattan, attested from 1787; the city's growth soon overran it, and it was by 1840 a commercial district notorious for squalor, rowdiness, and low life. The Bowery boy as an American comic type had a heyday in the 1850s and again around 1900.
Bowery Boy, the typical New York tough of a generation or two ago, named from the street which he chiefly affected .... He rather prided himself on his uncouthness, his ignorance, and his desperado readiness to fight, but he also loved to have attention called to his courage, his gallantry to women, his patriotic enthusiasm, and his innate tenderness of heart. A fire and a thrilling melodrama called out all his energies and emotions. [Walsh, 1892]
bowie knife (n.) Look up bowie knife at
"heavy-single-edged sheath-knife used early 19c. on the U.S. frontier," 1827, named for its inventor, U.S. fighter and frontiersman Col. James "Jim" Bowie (1799-1836), and properly pronounced "boo-ee."
bowl (n.) Look up bowl at
Old English bolla "pot, cup, bowl," from Proto-Germanic *bul- "a round vessel" (source also of Old Norse bolle, Old High German bolla), from PIE root *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell."
bowl (v.) Look up bowl at
"to roll a ball on the ground," typically as part of a game or contest, mid-15c., from bowl "wooden ball" (see bowls). Specifically of cricket from 1755; cricket sense, "deliver the ball to be played by the batsman," is source of late 19c. figurative expressions bowl over "knock down" (1867), etc. Related: Bowled; bowling.
bowler (n.1) Look up bowler at
"hard round hat," 1861, said to be from a J. Bowler, 19c. London hat manufacturer. A John Bowler of Surrey, hat manufacturer, was active from the 1820s to the 1840s, and a William Bowler, hat-manufacturer, of Southwark Bridge Road, Surrey, sought a patent in 1854 for "improvements in hats and other coverings for the head." But perhaps the word is simply from bowl (n.); compare Old English heafodbolla "brainpan, skull." The earliest usages are with a lower-case b-.
bowler (n.2) Look up bowler at
"player at bowls," c. 1500.
bowling (n.) Look up bowling at
1530s, originally "playing at bowls," verbal noun from bowl (v.). Bowling alley is from 1550s.
bowls (n.) Look up bowls at
game played with balls, mid-15c. (implied in bowlyn), from gerund of bowl "wooden ball" (early 15c.), from Old French bole (13c., Modern French boule) "ball," ultimately from Latin bulla "bubble, knob, round thing" (see bull (n.2)).
Noon apprentice ... [shall] play ... at the Tenys, Closshe, Dise, Cardes, Bowles nor any other unlawfull game. [Act 11, Henry VII, 1495]
Bowman's capsule (n.) Look up Bowman's capsule at
1882, named for English surgeon William Bowman (1816-1892).
bowser (n.) Look up bowser at
a dog's name, 1806, perhaps imitative of baying.
bowsprit (n.) Look up bowsprit at
"large spar extending from the bow of a ship with one or more sails of its own," late 13c., probably from Middle Low German bochspret, from boch "bow of a ship" (see bow (n.2)) + spret "pole" (compare Old English spreot "pole," Dutch spriet "spear;" see sprit). French beaupre is a Dutch loan word.
bowyer (n.) Look up bowyer at
"maker of bows," attested late 12c. as a surname, from bow (n.1) + -yer.
box (n.1.) Look up box at
Old English box "a wooden container," also the name of a type of shrub, from Late Latin buxis, from Greek pyxis "boxwood box," from pyxos "box tree," which is of uncertain origin. See OED entry for discussion. German Büchse also is a Latin loan word.

Meaning "compartment at a theater" is from c. 1600. Meaning "pigeon-hole at a post office" is from 1832. Meaning "television" is from 1950. Slang meaning "vulva" is attested 17c., according to "Dictionary of American Slang;" modern use seems to date from c.World War II, perhaps originally Australian, on notion of "box of tricks." Box office is 1786; in the figurative sense of "financial element of a performance" it is first recorded 1904. Box lunch (n.) attested from 1899. The box set, "multiple-album, CD or cassette issue of the work of an artist" is attested by 1955.
box (n.2.) Look up box at
"a blow," c. 1300, of uncertain origin, possibly related to Middle Dutch boke, Middle High German buc, and Danish bask, all meaning "a blow," perhaps imitative.
box (v.2) Look up box at
"to beat or whip," late 14c., from box (n.2). Meaning "to fight with the fists" is from 1560s. Related: Boxed; boxing.
box (v.1) Look up box at
"to put into storage, put into a box," mid-15c., from box (n.1). Related: Boxed; boxing.
box-top (n.) Look up box-top at
1937, American English, from box (n.1) + top (n.1).
boxcar (n.) Look up boxcar at
1856, American English, from box (n.1) + car.
boxer (n.) Look up boxer at
"fighter," late 15c., agent noun from box (v.2). The name of the breed of dog (1934), is from German (the breed originated in Germany), itself taken from English boxer "fighter;" the dog so called for its pugnaciousness. Boxer shorts (1943) so called from their resemblance to the attire worn in the ring.
Boxer Rebellion Look up Boxer Rebellion at
1900, a name based on mistranslation of Chinese xenophobic society I-He-T'uan, "Righteous Harmony Band," rendered by British as I-He-Ch'uan "Righteous Uniting Fists," and so associated with the pugilistic boxer.
boxing (n.) Look up boxing at
"fighting with the fists as a sport," 1711, verbal noun from box (v.2).
Boxing Day (n.) Look up Boxing Day at
1809, "first weekday after Christmas," on which postmen and others expect to receive a Christmas present, originally in reference to the custom of distributing the contents of the Christmas box, which was placed in the church for charity collections. See box (n.1). The custom is older than the phrase.
boxy (adj.) Look up boxy at
1858, from box (n.1) + -y (2). Related: Boxiness.
boy (n.) Look up boy at
mid-13c., boie "servant, commoner, knave, boy," of unknown origin. Possibly from Old French embuie "one fettered," from Vulgar Latin *imboiare, from Latin boia "leg iron, yoke, leather collar," from Greek boeiai dorai "ox hides." (Words for "boy" double as "servant, attendant" across the Indo-European map -- compare Italian ragazzo, French garçon, Greek pais, Middle English knave, Old Church Slavonic otroku -- and often it is difficult to say which meaning came first.)

But it also appears to be identical with East Frisian boi "young gentleman," and perhaps with Dutch boef "knave," from Middle Dutch boeve, perhaps from Middle Low German buobe. This suggests a gradational relationship to babe. For a different conjecture:
In Old English, only the proper name Boia has been recorded. ME boi meant 'churl, servant' and (rarely) 'devil.' In texts, the meaning 'male child' does not antedate 1400. ModE boy looks like a semantic blend of an onomatopoeic word for an evil spirit (*boi) and a baby word for 'brother' (*bo). [Liberman]

A noticable number of the modern words for 'boy', 'girl', and 'child' were originally colloquial nicknames, derogatory or whimsical, in part endearing, and finally commonplace. These, as is natural, are of the most diverse, and in part obscure, origin. [Buck]
Used slightingly of young men in Middle English; meaning "male negro slave or Asian personal servant of any age" attested from c. 1600. Exclamation oh, boy attested from 1892.
boyar (n.) Look up boyar at
member of a Russian aristocratic class (abolished by Peter the Great), 1590s, from Russian boyarin, perhaps from boji "struggle," or from Slavic root *bol- "great."
boycott Look up boycott at
1880, noun and verb, from Irish Land League ostracism of Capt. Charles C. Boycott (1832-1897), land agent of Lough-Mask in County Mayo, who refused to lower rents for his tenant farmers. Quickly adopted by newspapers in languages as far afield as Japanese (boikotto). The family name is from a place in England.