Definition of boa in US English:



  • 1A constrictor snake which bears live young and may reach great size, native to America, Africa, Asia, and some Pacific islands.

    Family Boidae, several genera and numerous species. See also boa constrictor

    • ‘In the basket are snakes he has trapped himself: a cobra and an earth boa.’
    • ‘He or she is coiled up, at head-height, and even when our guide pulls the branches in which the snake is nestling down a little to give us better view, the boa remains in steadfast slumber.’
    • ‘His unnamed female counterpart - a common boa - is longer at 7ft, but apparently has a sweeter personality.’
    • ‘Examples of such dwarfism or gigantism include the giant tortoises of the Seychelles islands, Indonesia's Komodo dragons, and the boas of the Belizean Snake Cayes.’
    • ‘The boa was cut up and its meat, a local delicacy apparently, distributed to those present for consumption.’
    • ‘To enhance this mental picture, boas and the pit vipers have heat-sensitive pits that further confirm the stranger as food or threat.’
    • ‘You know about the whale, but not about the boa down in Argentina.’
    • ‘The coastal rosy boa, a gray snake with brown longitudinal stripes, occasionally shows itself.’
    • ‘Although there's not a trace left on the outside, boas, pythons, and blind snakes all have completely useless vestigial hipbones buried in their bodies.’
    • ‘That is, except for a handful of more primitive serpents such as boas and pythons, whose vestigial femurs protrude from their scaly underbellies like stunted pincers.’
    • ‘They will include pythons, cobras, sand boas, snakes and monitor lizards.’
    • ‘Sand boas have been found occasionally near other naked mole-rat burrow entrances, but this is the only case where a marked animal was found as a prey item inside a snake.’
    • ‘The boa and the rattlesnake are homebodies that seldom travel more than a couple of miles in a lifetime.’
    • ‘A pet snake - a Californian boa - survived for a year in an empty house in Belgium after being left behind by mistake when the owner moved.’
    • ‘The boa, which could grow up to 13 ft, or four metres long and live to be 30, is now being looked after in an animal haven in Surrey.’
    • ‘In Puerto Rico, boas have taken to the trees where they lurk near the mouths of caves.’
    • ‘It's the smaller size of the boas found on certain Central American islands.’
    • ‘It was quite an adventure walking deep into the forest on a rainy day and we were nervous that huge boas that usually dwell in the forest might appear suddenly in front of us.’
    • ‘San Diego researchers are implanting radio transmitters into rosy boas, red racers, and red diamond rattlesnakes to identify areas they consider prime real estate.’
    • ‘Turns out, he said, that a boa will kill you only if you're mean to it or take its babies.’
    1. 1.1 Any snake that is a constrictor.
      • ‘Non-venomous snakes like boas and pythons grab their prey and squeeze them to death.’
      • ‘Stuck to my bed, muscles rigid as a flexed boa, sweat pooling in the depression in my chest, I dreamt in horror of the two headed bull.’
      • ‘Whenever I am in the presence of a star, my chest tightens like a boa around my heart as I think of some witty lead into a conversation with them.’
      • ‘His team found compelling evidence that in fact these snakes are a side-branch of snake evolution, closely related to modern boas and pythons and not mosasaurs.’
      • ‘His low voice muttered wistfully looking further down the path and seeing the wall that encased the palace like a boa and it's prey.’
      • ‘Their analysis also indicated, however, that the two snakes were not primitive ancestors, but advanced snakes similar to modern boas and pythons.’
      • ‘Some boas live in underground holes while others live in trees.’
      • ‘A few times, after he had missed his jump, he glared at me out of the corner of his eye, like a boa gauging its next victim.’
      • ‘They are also preyed upon by mammalian predators such as cats, and by snakes such as boas and anacondas.’
  • 2A long, thin decorative scarf or stole made of feathers or a similar material.

    ‘a sequined ballgown and feather boa’
    • ‘Performances of femininity are all about adding on - breasts, makeup, sparkly boas, frills, and flounces.’
    • ‘The fashion trends of the day included slinky summer dresses, wide feathered hats and boas, straw hats and suits of every shade and style - and that was just the men.’
    • ‘She slowly peels back her boa and unceremoniously tosses it to the side.’
    • ‘For example, I would definitely say that leather chaps, feather boas and mesh shirts are far more acceptable in a gay bar than in a straight one.’
    • ‘Whether or not they donned feather boas and tiaras or velour leisure suits in their own time, they wore the proper kit in working hours, and you knew they'd deliver no matter what.’
    • ‘There was a feather boa around her neck as she played and I sang ‘good-bye, good-bye forever’ and it was a wonderful evening.’
    • ‘Hats were both short and wide brimmed, decorated with bright boas, flowers or ribbon.’
    • ‘A population of costumed revelers cavorts in togas and turbans, feather boas and black leather, silver space suits and devil horns.’
    • ‘Feather boas, by the way, and full length evening gloves will be all the go on the social scene this season.’
    • ‘But instead I have gone with a more traditional flapper look, tassely little dress, feather boa, long black gloves, cigarette holder, fishnet stockings.’
    • ‘The strange time overlap represented by this show reaches its height as Tessie tosses her white fur boa about and sings about her ‘curves’ while stroking her huge abdomen.’
    • ‘Her walls are papered with postcards and record covers, while lingerie, feather boas and a plastic blow-up doll hang from the ceiling.’
    • ‘Yeah, it's about time rock started to embrace its feminine side - will we ever see a rock star happy to wear a boa or make-up, or perhaps mince about the stage in a catsuit?’
    • ‘She had on long white gloves and a feather boa, as she sauntered onto the scene clutching her handkerchief she pretended to faint, and drop the hankie.’
    • ‘She is always dressing up with feather boas and high heels.’
    • ‘Feather boas can offset tracksuits, topped by acrylic wigs.’
    • ‘They peered into stretch limousines and watched as exhibitors, wrapped in rainbow-striped feather boas, danced in the aisles to techno music from a booth advertising deejay services.’
    • ‘The wiggly, fuzzy boas were frilly and girlish but also spermlike.’
    • ‘Sauntering around the black and white checked floor, I spun my boa attractively at anyone who gave me a second glance.’
    • ‘A couple of scantily dressed girls hoisted themselves on top of them and began dancing, throwing their boas into the crowd.’


Late Middle English: from Latin (mentioned in the writings of Pliny), of unknown ultimate origin.