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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After getting high-fives and attaboys from US and Canadian players, Blackley, six-foot three and 190 pounds, went to the elevator.’
    • ‘‘You guys didn't get any attaboys,’ he said, ‘and the rest of us got a bunch of 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.’
    • ‘Expecting, if not a hero's welcome, at least an attaboy upon returning home, they were excoriated instead.’
    • ‘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.’


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