Definition of bovver in English:



  • [mass noun], [usually as modifier] Hooliganism or violent disorder, especially as caused by gangs of skinheads.

    ‘a bovver boy’
    • ‘Thanks to a mindless nucleus of bovver boys, they are loathed the length and breadth of Europe, and often beyond.’
    • ‘As an aside, I should say that New Yorkers - at least, the New Yorkers who were there last night - don't really do the bovver boy act very convincingly, which added to the pantomime quality of the whole event.’
    • ‘This rough assumption brings other troubling implications in its wake, like cultural bovver boys.’
    • ‘All of which leaves Howard's political bovver boy looking sadly out of the main game in 2002.’
    • ‘That is the dream the Prime Minister has, and she sent her little Brownshirt bovver boy off to the media to pretend that the dream is happening.’
    • ‘More recently coined words not normally used in formal prose are under no such inhibition: bovver, navvy, revving, skivvy are all written with double v.’
    • ‘McKidd, who plays the leader of the bovver boys, admits he's probably in for a kicking.’
    • ‘He could not handle the fact that bovver boy threats and intimidation failed to shut us up.’
    • ‘'Bovver boots' are footwear designed to intimidate and injure, or give the impression of doing so, or even make an ironic comment on this.’
    • ‘He was no bovver boy and could have passed for a city gent: clean cut, camel coat, a product of his times.’
    • ‘As politicians of all denominations condemned the attacks, it was left to Howard's out-going bovver boy to go for the cheap political points.’


1960s: representing a cockney pronunciation of bother.