The Dutch form baas is attested in English from 1620s as the standard title of a Dutch ship's captain. The word's popularity in U.S. may reflect egalitarian avoidance of master (n.) as well as the need to distinguish slave from free labor. The slang adjective meaning "excellent" is recorded in 1880s, revived, apparently independently, in teen and jazz slang in 1950s.
"spiked metal ring for holding a belt, etc.," c. 1300, bukel, from Old French bocle "boss (of a shield)," then "shield," then by further extension "buckle, metal ring," (12c., Modern French boucle), from Latin buccula "cheek strap of a helmet," in Late Latin "boss of a shield," diminutive of bucca "cheek" (see bouche).
Boucle in the middle ages had the double sense of a "shield's boss" and "a ring"; the last sense has alone survived, and it metaph. developed in the boucle de cheveux, ringlets. [Kitchin]
especially in His Nibs "boss, employer, self-important person," 1821, of unknown origin; perhaps a variant of nob (n.2) "person of high position."