Definition of attaboy in US English:



  • An informal expression of encouragement or admiration to a man or boy.

    • ‘Come on, Red, get in the house… attaboy, attaboy.’


  • A piece of encouragement or congratulations, especially a letter.

    ‘our boss will write you guys an attaboy’
    • ‘For that to happen, you spot the good shots and hand over the attaboys, or attagirls.’
    • ‘‘You guys didn't get any attaboys,’ he said, ‘and the rest of us got a bunch of them.’’
    • ‘After getting high-fives and attaboys from US and Canadian players, Blackley, six-foot three and 190 pounds, went to the elevator.’
    • ‘The crew deserves an attaboy because they're not as strong on paper as most of the teams they've been racing, but, even so, they've managed to outperform them.’
    • ‘This past April, he received personal attaboys from both the prime minister and the president when annual sales broke $1 billion - a record for a publicly traded tech company in India.’
    • ‘The dog found it quickly and froze in a classic stance, posed for pictures, got more than a few pats and attaboys and never once moved until Randy tooted his whistle and picked up the bird.’
    • ‘Expecting, if not a hero's welcome, at least an attaboy upon returning home, they were excoriated instead.’


Early 20th century: probably representing a casual pronunciation of that's the boy.