bourgeoise (adj.)
proper French fem. of bourgeois (q.v.).
bourgeoisie (n.)
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)
"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)
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.)
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
see booze.
boustrophedon (n.)
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.)
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.)
also 'bout, short for about, mid-13c.
boutique (n.)
"trendy fashion shop," 1950, 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.)
"spray of flowers worn in a buttonhole," 1875, from French boutonnière, from bouton "button" (see button (n.)).
bovine (adj.)
1817, "of or like oxen," from French bovin (14c.), from Late Latin bovinus, from Latin bos (genitive bovis) "cow," originally "ox," "a loan word from a rural dialect" [Buck, who cites Umbrian bue], from PIE root *gwou- "ox, bull, cow." Figurative sense of "inert and stupid" is from 1855.
bovver
1969, Cockney pronunciation of bother "trouble" (q.v.), given wide extended usage in skinhead slang.
bow (v.1)
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)
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)
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)
with a short -o-, "an inclination of the body or head" (in reverence, etc.), 1650s, from bow (v.1).
bow (n.1)
"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 bells (n.)
"born within the sound of Bow Bells" is the traditional (since early 17c.) definition of a Cockney; the reference is to the bells of the church of St. Mary-le-Bow in London's Cheapside district. A church or chapel probably stood there in Anglo-Saxon times, and has been rebuilt many times (it was last destroyed in a 1941 air raid); the bells were noted for their sound from 16c., and a great bell hung there from 1762 to 1941. The church was noted from medieval times for its arches, hence the name, from bow (n.1).
Bow Street
London street near Covent Garden, developed with homes from early 17c., the name (attested from 1680s) is from bow (n.1) in reference to its curved shape. Seat of a metropolitan police court from 1740; hence Bow Street runners, voluntery police force established here in 1750.
bow tie (n.)
by 1887, from bow (n.) in the sense "ribbon or other fabric tied in a bow-knot" (by 1874) + tie (n.).
bow-legged (adj.)
also bowlegged, "having the legs bowed outward," 1550s, from bow (n.1) + legged.
bow-string (n.)
also bowstring, "the string of a bow," late 14c., from bow (n.1) + string (n.). In the Ottoman Empire, used for strangling offenders.
bow-window (n.)
"window built so as to project from a wall, curved segmentally," 1753, from bow (n.1) + window.
bow-wow
imitative of a dog's barking, first recorded 1570s. Compare Latin baubor, Greek bauzein "to bark," Lithuanian baubti "cry," of cows, etc.
bowdlerize (v.)
"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.)
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.)
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.)
"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]
bowhead (n.)
also bow-head, type of Arctic whale, 1853, from bow (n.1) + head (n.). So called for its shape.
bowie knife (n.)
"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.1)
"round, low vessel to hold liquids or liquid food," 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." Formerly also "a large drinking cup," hence figurative use as an emblem of festivity or drunkenness. In reference to a football-stadium 1913, originally one that is bowl-shaped.
bowl (n.2)
"sphere, globe, ball," c. 1400, from Old French boule "ball," from Latin bulla "round swelling, knob" (see bull (n.2)). Meaning "large, solid ball of hard wood used in the game of bowls" is from mid-15c.
bowl (v.)
"to roll a ball on the ground," typically as part of a game or contest, mid-15c., from bowl "wooden ball" (see bowls). Specifically in cricket, "deliver the ball to be played by the batsman," from 1755; the cricket sense is source of late 19c. figurative expressions bowl over "knock down" (1849), etc. Related: Bowled; bowling.
bowler (n.1)
"hard, round, low-crowned 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)
"player at bowls," c. 1500; in cricket, the player who serves the ball. Agent noun from bowl (v.).
bowline (n.)
also bow-line, type of rope on a sailing ship, early 14c. (late 13c. in Anglo-Latin), apparently connected with the bow (n.2) of a ship, but attested earlier than that word and not pronounced the same.
bowling (n.)
1530s, "the act of playing at bowls," verbal noun from bowl (v.). Bowling-alley is from 1550s; bowling-green is from 1640s.
bowls (n.)
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 (n.)
"fighting man armed with a bow," late 13c.; as a surname early 13c., from bow (n.1) + man (n.). Bowman's capsule (1882) was named for English surgeon William Bowman (1816-1892).
bowser (n.)
a dog's name, 1806, perhaps imitative of baying (compare Greek bauzein "to bark").
bowshot (n.)
also bow-shot, "distance traversed by an arrow in its flight from a bow," c. 1300, from bow (n.1) + shot (n.).
bowsprit (n.)
"large spar projecting forward from the bow of a ship," 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). The variation in early forms (including boltsprit, bolesprit, boresprit) suggests a non-native word. French beaupre is a Dutch loan word.
bowyer (n.)
"maker of bows," attested late 12c. as a surname, from bow (n.1) + -yer.
box (n.3)
genus of small evergreen trees, Old English, from Latin buxus, from Greek pyxos "box tree," which is of uncertain origin. Beekes suggests a loan-word from Italy, as that is where the tree is native. Compare box (n.1).
box (n.2.)
"a blow," c. 1300, of uncertain origin, older than the verb, possibly related to Middle Dutch boke, Middle High German buc, and Danish bask, all meaning "a blow;" perhaps imitative; perhaps from some sense of box (n.1) or (v.2).
box (v.2)
"to beat, thrash, strike with the fist or hand," late 14c., from box (n.2). Meaning "to fight with the fists" (intransitive), whether gloved or not, is from 1560s. Related: Boxed; boxing.
box (v.1)
"to put into storage, place into a box," mid-15c., from box (n.1). Related: Boxed; boxing.
box (n.1.)
"rectangular wooden container," usually with a lid, Old English box, also the name of a type of shrub, from Late Latin buxis, from Greek pyxis "boxwood," pyxion "writing table, box," made of boxwood, from pyxos "box tree," which is of uncertain origin. Beekes suggests a loan-word from Italy, as that is where the tree is native. Dutch bus, German Büchse "box; barrel of a gun," also are Latin loan-words.

Meaning "compartment at a theater" is from c. 1600 (box seat in the theatrical sense is by 1850). Meaning "pigeon-hole at a post office" is from 1832. Meaning "television" is from 1950 (earlier "gramphone player," 1924). Meaning "station of a player in baseball" is from 1881. Graphics sense "space enclosed within borders and rules" is from 1929. 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 lunch (n.) attested from 1899. The box set, "multiple-album, CD or cassette issue of the work of an artist" is attested by 1955. To think or act outside the box "contrary to convention" is attested by 1994.
box-cutter (n.)
1871, "one whose job is to cut boxes," from box (n.1) + cutter. From 1890 as a type of cutting machine; from 1944 as a hand-held bladed tool for cutting cardboard.