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

    • ‘The coastal rosy boa, a gray snake with brown longitudinal stripes, occasionally shows itself.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's the smaller size of the boas found on certain Central American islands.’
    • ‘To enhance this mental picture, boas and the pit vipers have heat-sensitive pits that further confirm the stranger as food or threat.’
    • ‘In Puerto Rico, boas have taken to the trees where they lurk near the mouths of caves.’
    • ‘The boa and the rattlesnake are homebodies that seldom travel more than a couple of miles in a lifetime.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘San Diego researchers are implanting radio transmitters into rosy boas, red racers, and red diamond rattlesnakes to identify areas they consider prime real estate.’
    • ‘They will include pythons, cobras, sand boas, snakes and monitor lizards.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 was cut up and its meat, a local delicacy apparently, distributed to those present for consumption.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You know about the whale, but not about the boa down in Argentina.’
    • ‘His unnamed female counterpart - a common boa - is longer at 7ft, but apparently has a sweeter personality.’
    • ‘Turns out, he said, that a boa will kill you only if you're mean to it or take its babies.’
    • ‘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 the basket are snakes he has trapped himself: a cobra and an earth boa.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 Any snake that is a constrictor.
      • ‘Their analysis also indicated, however, that the two snakes were not primitive ancestors, but advanced snakes similar to modern boas and pythons.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some boas live in underground holes while others live in trees.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Non-venomous snakes like boas and pythons grab their prey and squeeze them to death.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘A couple of scantily dressed girls hoisted themselves on top of them and began dancing, throwing their boas into the crowd.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Feather boas, by the way, and full length evening gloves will be all the go on the social scene this season.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sauntering around the black and white checked floor, I spun my boa attractively at anyone who gave me a second glance.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Performances of femininity are all about adding on - breasts, makeup, sparkly boas, frills, and flounces.’
    • ‘She slowly peels back her boa and unceremoniously tosses it to the side.’
    • ‘Feather boas can offset tracksuits, topped by acrylic wigs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She is always dressing up with feather boas and high heels.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Her walls are papered with postcards and record covers, while lingerie, feather boas and a plastic blow-up doll hang from the ceiling.’
    • ‘The wiggly, fuzzy boas were frilly and girlish but also spermlike.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But instead I have gone with a more traditional flapper look, tassely little dress, feather boa, long black gloves, cigarette holder, fishnet stockings.’
    • ‘A population of costumed revelers cavorts in togas and turbans, feather boas and black leather, silver space suits and devil horns.’
    • ‘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.’


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