Main definitions of boo in US English:

: boo1boo2

boo1

exclamation

  • 1Said suddenly to surprise someone.

    ‘“Boo!” she cried, jumping up to frighten him’
    • ‘‘When he walks in we'll jump out and say boo,’ Sam whispered as well.’
    • ‘I kept looking at them, waiting for a face to appear, to say hi or boo.’
    • ‘Ethan looked kind of nervous, I had the sudden urge to jump up and scream boo just to see what he'd do.’
    • ‘Behind the church, right at the back of the graveyard (a graveyard I used to have to walk past in the dark with a sadistic little sister who thought it funny to say boo) is a tiny ruin.’
  • 2Said to show disapproval or contempt, especially at a performance or athletic contest.

    • ‘Thus it may be a while before I blog properly again. Boo.’
    • ‘I didn't find what I was looking for though, boo.’
    • ‘Even worse, you have to fill in a dreaded tax return every year - boo!’
    • ‘There didn't appear to be any kind of legal medication I could take that would keep me awake 24/7 to experience everything… boo.’
    • ‘I have to get the whole broken on-off button on my cell phone seen to or else buy a new phone - boo!’
    • ‘But I don't have time to call them, and every time I sit down to write a letter, I end up with some super cheesy gag of an invite. Boo.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, one of the curtain rod kits I'd bought didn't have the mounting hardware inside, so I'm going to have to get another one - boo!’
    • ‘They also brew their Vienna lager and Star Spangled Banner (an American pale ale) on occasion, but neither of these were available to try - boo!’
    • ‘Bianca gets every day except Tuesday off coz she's doing her IT subjects via distance. boo!’
    • ‘Lately, I seem to be having quite a bit of free time upon my hands, so all that I can say is… boo!’
    • ‘It's been great, but now I'm really poor, so I need to work. boo.’

nounPlural boos

  • An utterance of “boo” to show disapproval or contempt.

    ‘the audience greeted this comment with boos and hisses’
    • ‘The audience's boos, screams, and applause determines who wins the fight.’
    • ‘As Moore shouted over boos and cheers, most of the nominees who had just given him a standing ovation sat silent.’
    • ‘The response drew boos and hisses from some journalists and several walked out.’
    • ‘Lots of hisses and boos to the Chancellor for not relenting on that score.’
    • ‘Only when he is greeted with boos and hisses does it become clear that the cries of ‘author, author’ are ironic.’
    • ‘During a home game against Dunfermline the player's misfiring performance was subjected to a sustained chorus of boos and jeers from his own fans.’
    • ‘The evil Sheriff of Nottingham was played excellently and evoked plenty of hisses and boos - as very good baddie should!’
    • ‘The post-match analysts then came on to boos and hisses.’
    • ‘The fans of that school screamed and shouted over the boos and hisses.’
    • ‘Shouts, boos, whistles from the crowd sheltering in the marquees.’
    • ‘When James came on to take a bow, never before had Maugham heard ‘such an outburst of boos and catcalls’.’
    • ‘The two cars were greeted with boos and whistles from the grandstands as they pulled up after the race.’
    • ‘I want to hear the boos and jeers up here in Sin City.’
    • ‘Three hundred policemen cleared the yard outside and the couple were taken away in a police van to boos and jeers from the waiting crowd.’
    • ‘A chorus of boos and hisses greeted this comment.’
    • ‘The audience responded with a cascade of hisses and boos.’
    • ‘Her pleasantness is met with boos, hoots and catcalls.’
    • ‘He returned yesterday to a deafening roar of hisses and boos and expletives.’
    • ‘The moment the headmaster said this, there was a loud eruption of boos and hisses.’
    • ‘As the march swung past Number 10 there was a cacophony of whistles, boos, jeers and insults.’
    shout, yell, cry, howl, scream, shriek, whoop, whistle
    View synonyms

verbboos, booed, booing

  • Say “boo” to show disapproval or contempt.

    no object ‘they booed and hissed when he stepped on stage’
    with object ‘I was practically booed off the stage for talking about cyberpunk’
    • ‘The meeting featured loud hooting, hissing and booing from the supporters of the various positions.’
    • ‘From the start, his speech was accompanied by a chorus of whistling and booing.’
    • ‘They kept traveling the country trying to sell it and people kept booing and hissing them down.’
    • ‘Managers and directors were booed and jeered at as they left and entered the building.’
    • ‘The diplomat explained that people were booing, an expression of disapproval.’
    • ‘The workers booed and jeered as the manger of the factory addressed their annual Christmas meeting.’
    • ‘Rather than booing, fans recall it was more a wall of silence that greeted his efforts, but they would get their comeuppance soon enough.’
    • ‘My brother, who was at the ceremony and game did confirm that yes, people were booing the PM quite openly.’
    • ‘It's hard to imagine anyone walking out on this performance, much less booing it.’
    • ‘People are booing, and I don't even try to stop them as this ragtag of veteran-looking musicians play on.’
    • ‘The evil Abanazer had the audience booing and hissing from the start.’
    • ‘Angry crowds attended public meetings organised by the Commission, jeering and booing the speakers.’
    • ‘He actually came out and - when the crowd was booing and asked them to calm down.’
    • ‘Raymond actually booed when they disappeared off the right edge of the monitor.’
    • ‘The audience at the Social Forum booed and hissed him so loudly that he had to leave the stage.’
    • ‘A figure of fun, his name was jeered for his hypocrisy, booed for his betrayal.’
    • ‘The audience was booing and heckling, which prompted the cops to call for backup.’
    • ‘Before he could finish, the crowd showed their disapproval by booing him off the stage.’
    • ‘The ever present gangs, all set to boo them, were also in full swing whenever the vocals chords missed the notes.’
    • ‘At that time the Tricolour was banned, so we gave the police some trouble in taking the flags down, the crowds booing them.’
    taunt, mock, scoff at, ridicule, laugh at, sneer at, deride, tease, insult, abuse, jibe, jibe at, scorn, shout disapproval, shout disapproval at
    taunt, sneer, insult, shout, jibe, boo, hiss, catcall
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • wouldn't say boo to a goose

    • Used to emphasize that someone is very shy or reticent.

      • ‘At work neither of them would say boo to the proverbial goose, yet here they are behaving like a couple of irritating street tykes.’
      • ‘My youngest son wouldn't say boo to a goose and he was absolutely petrified.’
      • ‘A gentle soul of a man who wouldn't say boo to a goose.’
      • ‘There should be someone who can say boo to the goose.’
      • ‘When I started, I was just a very quiet north-Kent girl who didn't say boo to a goose.’
      • ‘Mrs Dalton, a neighbour, said: ‘She didn't say boo to a goose.’’
      • ‘If I hadn't met him, I'd probably still be cowering in a corner somewhere, refusing to say boo to a goose.’
      • ‘It turns out that the lad who looks like a no-nonsense squaddie on the park wouldn't say boo to a goose outwith those environs.’
      • ‘By now, it was clear he didn't have wits enough to say boo to a goose.’
      • ‘‘He was quite a quiet guy who kept himself to himself - you always got the impression he wouldn't say boo to a goose,’ said Mr Hemmings.’
      • ‘Before you can say boo to a goose, we enter dangerous ground where relatively harmless differences between people become a cause for complaint and division.’
      • ‘He may have been a small nervous man who would not say boo to a goose.’
      reserved, withdrawn, introverted, restrained, inhibited, diffident, shy, modest, unassuming, shrinking, distant, undemonstrative, wouldn't say boo to a goose
      View synonyms
  • say boo

    • with negativeSay anything at all; utter a sound.

      ‘Walter looked at us, but he didn't say boo’
      • ‘Now he knows that all he has to do is pop up and say boo once in a while and we'll go all to pieces.’
      • ‘I have to go back to work tomorrow (this is where I won't say boo!)’
      • ‘They just go out and do their job, don't say boo and everyone gets the point.’
      • ‘Further, the two female mutes act not at all shell-shocked: They solicitously hug or support Electra, crawl with her when she crawls, but never say boo.’
      • ‘And institutional shareholders don't say boo.’
      • ‘Immediately, I was made welcome, and before you could say boo, I had a new job.’
      • ‘I bet in years to come we will all be grateful for Gm food supplies - and we won't say boo about them.’
      • ‘Adams could borrow Mr Marr's underpants and he wouldn't say boo!’
      • ‘Yet all that macho front goes weak at the knees if the Tories say boo on race or tax.’
      • ‘You come bounding down the hallway and start fixing me up before I can even say boo to you!’
      • ‘However when she points the bone with all that implied threat of an aboriginal curse - and an unauthorised one as it turns out - no-one says boo.’

Origin

Early 19th century (in boo (sense 2 of the exclamation)): imitative of the lowing of oxen.

Pronunciation

boo

/bu//bo͞o/

Main definitions of boo in US English:

: boo1boo2

boo2

nounPlural boos

US
informal
  • A person's boyfriend or girlfriend.

    • ‘Some things I view as sacred and extremely personal that I wouldn't share… these include times shared with my boo.’
    • ‘She has also made solo inroads, doing that song about being with her boo.’
    • ‘‘I'm not doubting what happened, boo,’ Shayna began sweetly.’
    • ‘But we're no clearer about the line ‘even when I'm with my boo / you know I'm crazy over you.’’
    • ‘You turn ma boo against me, with your contemptuous lies.’

Origin

1980s: origin uncertain; probably an alteration of French beau ‘boyfriend, male admirer’.

Pronunciation

boo

/bo͞o//bu/