mid-15c., bomben, bummyn, "buzz, hum, drone, make a deep, hollow, continuous sound" (earliest use was for bees and wasps), probably echoic of humming. The meaning "make a loud noise, roar, rumble, reverberate" is from 15c. Compare bomb. Meaning "to burst into prosperity" (of places, businesses, etc.) is 1871, American English. Related: Boomed; booming. Boom box "large portable stereo cassette player" first attested 1978.