Main definitions of boss in English

: boss1boss2boss3

boss1

noun

informal
  • 1A person in charge of a worker or organization.

    ‘I asked my boss for a promotion’
    ‘union bosses’
    • ‘Do you think this helps explain why today's corporate bosses are treating American workers like dogs?’
    • ‘The strike threat forced bosses to offer workers extra money on the basic rate.’
    • ‘Countryside bosses have organised a meeting of the Friends of Blackshaw Brook, to discuss plans for the valley area in which the reservoirs lie.’
    • ‘Chorley shop worker Pam Dillon impressed bosses so much by telling them she was a former director, she earned herself a trip to the States.’
    • ‘And the organisation's bosses in Preston have praised our readers for helping to catch dozens of criminals over the past 12 months.’
    • ‘Many Irish workers would like their bosses to help them fight the flab.’
    • ‘So it would have come as a terrible shock to the system if the telly bosses had organised a fantastic line-up of must-see TV for the autumn.’
    • ‘Union bosses believe railway maintenance workers are still risking their lives because lessons from the Tebay rail tragedy remain unlearned.’
    • ‘Four in 10 office workers say they think bosses regularly charge personal items back to the company.’
    • ‘One unexpected outcome would be the benefits it would bring to the workers rather than the bosses.’
    • ‘Blum's first act was to stop the strike wave by organising talks between the bosses and the unions.’
    • ‘The company would probably do just as well if the worker bees hated their bosses and most of their jobs.’
    • ‘Lawyers have been called into a row between striking Boddingtons workers and their bosses.’
    • ‘The tribunal heard that Mr Cahill had at one time worked under Mr Clark before a series of promotions eventually put him in charge of his former boss at the company's Thorp Arch headquarters.’
    • ‘No bosses of the well-known organised crime groups were arrested.’
    • ‘Furious staff have lashed out at company bosses for not informing workers that the plant was in trouble before it became public knowledge.’
    • ‘Safety chiefs are warning businesses about a scam in which bosses are charged hundreds of pounds from a bogus health and safety organisation.’
    • ‘A former Ryedale museum worker was sacked after bosses discovered he had ignored basic safety rules when operating cutting machinery.’
    • ‘But night workers slammed bosses after they heard the news on the radio before they had been told by management.’
    • ‘Hu, the PR manager of a local company, was assigned by his boss to organize a conference.’
    head, head man, head woman, top man, top woman, chief, principal, director, president, executive, chief executive, chair, chairperson, chairman, chairwoman, manager, manageress, administrator, leader, superintendent, supervisor, foreman, forewoman, overseer, controller, employer, master, owner, proprietor, patron
    boss man, number one, kingpin, top dog, bigwig, big cheese, mister big, skipper
    gaffer, governor, guv'nor
    honcho, head honcho, numero uno, padrone, sachem, big wheel, big kahuna, big white chief, high muckamuck
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A person in control of a group or situation.
      ‘the boss of the largest crime family in the country’
      • ‘But you don't fully feel the weight of that until you get into that situation where you're the boss.’
      • ‘Traditionally, men are supposed to be in control and be the boss at work.’
      • ‘Litle compromises that show him he's in control and he's the boss.’
      • ‘The ENTIRE point of blogs is being the boss and controlling content.’
      • ‘It does take a while to get used to, but remember, to teach your dog anything, you must be the leader and the boss.’
      • ‘Again and again the contributors write of you as a sort of capo, the gaffer, the boss.’
      • ‘He is a centralist who makes clear to his Labour ministers that he is the boss.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]informal
  • Give (someone) orders in a domineering manner.

    ‘plump old battle-axes bossing everyone around’
    • ‘Ishaan, who plays Shahid's nephew who comes to live with him after his parents die, loved bossing big brother around during the shoot.’
    • ‘How do you react when you are bossed around, treated as inferior or taken advantage of?’
    • ‘You've always said how much you cherished my independence, but lately you've been bossing me around so much I just can't stand it.’
    • ‘At least they weren't always bossing her around and ordering her around like a slave like Kinchi, but instead treated her like she had always wanted to be treated.’
    • ‘She was always organising things, bossing people around, trying to be a power-businesswoman at age 18.’
    • ‘I knew mom wouldn't like it, but screw it, I was tired of her bossing me around, telling me what to do.’
    • ‘Basically what you want is someone to be considering your purpose at all times, bossing you around constantly, and not only that, they are expected to approach you on the matter to begin with.’
    • ‘I'm guessing one was the trainee, because the other one seemed to be bossing him around a bit.’
    • ‘The cook informed everyone that she had been hanging around the kitchen, bossing him into submission and demanding certain strange things to be packed.’
    • ‘Okay, so I'll probably get sent to the Tower for saying it, but I've had just about enough of the multimillionaire Windsor family bossing us all around.’
    • ‘It seems to me that this Government is reaching new heights in ordering and bossing people about and telling them what it expects them to do.’
    • ‘They sure weren't shy in bossing me around, though.’
    • ‘They'll say, ‘Will you stop bossing me around?’’
    • ‘It's not so much what goes on as the awful smell of raw sausage meat and standing up for 8 hours in a cold, noisy room with stupid attire and people in colour-coded hard hats bossing you around.’
    • ‘There's a fine line between standing up to your bud and bossing her around.’
    • ‘She did believe in Santa, but she thought he was just some overlord who bossed his workers around and shopped at flea markets for her gifts.’
    • ‘So basically I bossed him around for an hour and we got the whole delivery done in an hour.’
    • ‘That would be George's younger sister, probably bossing him around like his mother now does.’
    • ‘Yet, here was some employee of a private company bossing me around on public property in my own damn neighborhood.’
    • ‘But I suppose when you spend your days bossing kids around, it's hard to remember how to communicate with adults.’
    order about, order around, give orders to, dictate to, impose one's will on, lord it over, bully, push about, push around, domineer, dominate, ride roughshod over, trample on, try to control, pressurize, browbeat, use strong-arm tactics on
    throw one's weight about, throw one's weight around, call the shots, lay down the law
    bulldoze, walk all over, railroad, lean on
    View synonyms

adjective

North american
informal
  • [attributive] Excellent; outstanding.

    ‘she's a real boss chick’
    • ‘I like that second picture the best; it's a boss shot!’

Phrases

  • be one's own boss

    • informal Be self-employed.

      • ‘I suppose that's why I've almost always been my own boss since then.’
      • ‘Other positive aspects included working in open air, being your own boss and personal reward.’
      • ‘Have you ever thought about being your own boss?’
      • ‘‘I was my own boss, I had a company van and my mates would drop in and we could listen to the rock music all day long,’ says Baldock.’
      • ‘‘It's lovely being my own boss, but it's nice to be able to shut the door at the end of the day,’ she admits.’
      • ‘After his zillionaire left Montreal for the greener pastures of Toronto, Joey, who as a child dreamed of becoming a policeman, opted to start his own limo business and has been his own boss ever since.’
      • ‘But they do take a lot of satisfaction from being their own boss, and for the foreseeable future the vast majority expect to stay in farming.’
      • ‘So what could be better than being one's own boss and running a business from home?’
      • ‘Wonder Woman, on the other hand, was her own boss.’
      • ‘I was my own boss by 21, trading professionally in the retail game.’
      • ‘Other bonuses included not being ‘chained’ to a desk, being your own boss and having a good social life at work.’
      • ‘I've had the autonomy that comes with being my own boss and the greater remuneration that comes from working in the States.’
      • ‘Touring as a solo artist, however, is a different matter as Haris is her own boss.’
      • ‘He'll tell me that I am wasting my life in the corporate world and that I can only realise my true potential by being my own boss.’
      • ‘‘The 18-month long project has been a great success in portraying how rewarding and challenging being your own boss can be,’ he said.’
      • ‘One objective is to double the number of young people aspiring to be their own boss, which stands at about 15%, according to Enterprise Insight research.’
      • ‘You might have daydreamed for years about being your own boss, running your own business, having visions of chucking in the nine-to-five routine and doing your own thing.’
      • ‘But I think the great thing about this play, and the novel, is that Steinbeck's principles attract everyone: having your own place; being your own boss; not having to answer to anyone.’
      • ‘The rewards are very much about being able to work for yourself; about being your own boss.’
      • ‘Or if you'd prefer to be your own boss, all you need to do is get a few bucks and a taste for ice cream.’
  • show someone who's boss

    • informal Make it clear that one is in charge.

      • ‘Okay, so imagine this: a so-called friend has been trying to walk all over you all week and now it's time to show her who's boss.’
      • ‘Now George is looking forward to showing Floyd who's boss when they walk out at Bothwell Castle today - just as he did in Barbados ten years ago.’
      • ‘Just to show them who's boss I kicked at their jaws and scolded them down.’
      • ‘She leapt at them, hissing and howling and growling, trying to get at them, to show them who's boss around here.’
      • ‘He called a special election to show them who's boss and guess what happened?’
      • ‘Girls, get out your laser guns and show them who's boss.’
      • ‘I do have to keep them on their toes and show them who's boss.’
      • ‘Wednesday Tony Blair is shown who's boss by the ladies of the Women's Institute at their annual conference in London.’
      • ‘Dressed in Clan sweaters, red and blue scarves, funny hats, and gobs of face paint, they come in droves to show UBC who's boss and assert SFU dominance.’
      • ‘Does he really believe in, and worship, a God who arbitrarily decides to kill people just to show them who's boss?’
      • ‘So, you say that you'll have to get a hold of her sometime and really show her who's boss, that she needs to know how bad she has been.’
      • ‘And then, once every few days, we would go to a village to shoot pheasants, just to show them who's boss.’
      • ‘Someday he'd show Namako who's boss, but this wasn't the day.’
      • ‘‘They will show her who's boss,’ said the Prince.’
      • ‘They think that training involves dominating a horse, showing him who's boss.’
      • ‘Howard Jarvis used to say it is time to show the politicians who is the boss.’
      • ‘Just because the candidates on the left ran a poor election doesn't mean you should try and elect a racist to show them who's boss.’
      • ‘When nature decides to show us who's boss, we just have to hunker down and hope for the best.’
      • ‘It's my job to contain that, get him under control and then show who's the boss.’
      • ‘We're going to show you who's boss.’

Origin

Early 19th century (originally US): from Dutch baas master.

Pronunciation:

boss

/bôs/

Main definitions of boss in English

: boss1boss2boss3

boss2

noun

  • 1A round knob, stud, or other protuberance, in particular.

    • ‘The genus Eoporpita shows extensive tentacles radiating from a central boss, which in some specimens appears chambered.’
    • ‘Inside, Citroën stylists have also gone to town, especially on the steering wheel, which features a static central boss around which the rim revolves.’
    • ‘First you need a blank boss, indoors preferably (garage, hallway or sports hall) at 12 inches from the end of your long rod.’
    • ‘The dish is signed ‘FB’ on the central boss for Francois Briot, the most celebrated member of a French family of medallists and die-cutters.’
    1. 1.1A stud on the center of a shield.
      • ‘As we walked by I saw Yrling's and Toki's war-kits, for they were easy to discern by the fineness of the helmets and the gilt upon the bosses of their shields.’
      • ‘While a fragmented helmet had been unusually wrought from one piece of iron, the shield boss and sword pommel can only be paralleled by Swedish finds.’
      • ‘Thorfast would at least have had a heavy wooden shield with a metal boss that he'd have held on his left arm. and an eight-foot-long, metal-tipped ash spear.’
      • ‘However, a sword, a battle-axe, a shield boss and a spearhead were still inside the grave.’
      • ‘A number of other male graves contained shield bosses and spear heads, although all traces of the wooden shields and spears had long disappeared.’
    2. 1.2Architecture
      A piece of ornamental carving covering the point where the ribs in a vault or ceiling cross.
      • ‘In the medieval Hall of St Mary, Green Men occur as bosses, corbels, in tapestry, and in stained glass.’
      • ‘Of the remaining 12 bosses, six were salvaged from the original ceiling while the remainder were designed by Blue Peter viewers.’
      • ‘The bosses of the south porch are especially noteworthy: both are fearsome grotesques with toothed mouths.’
      • ‘The central boss, tying together the ribs of the vaulting, is carved with a double Green Man, the two faces looking in opposite directions.’
      • ‘Roof bosses, like sedilia and gargoyles, were often given humorous or grotesque decoration although foliate carving was also common.’
      • ‘Four floral bosses help secure the flying ribs, while an intricate carved star hangs from the center and anchors the inner square.’
      • ‘Its central boss depicts The Fall of Man showing Adam tempted by the fruit of the serpent-entwined tree.’
      • ‘The western bay of the vault, built in 1362, carries a hanging boss suspended by eight dramatic flying ribs.’
      • ‘Again circle and arc motifs frame the central boss and create interesting geometric figures across the flat extent of the ceiling.’
    3. 1.3Geology
      A large mass of igneous rock protruding through other strata.
      • ‘The first drops down a fissure in the floor, which leads down to a stalagmite boss partway along the hand traverse.’
      • ‘Shortly after a chamber with a small shaft off to the left, you need to slide past an impressive stalagmitic boss.’
      • ‘They are commonly exposed as small stocks, bosses, sheets and dykes and are often intimately related to the granitoids outlined above.’
    4. 1.4Mechanics
      An enlarged part of a shaft.
      • ‘The sights are conventional, with a front blade mounted atop a boss on the barrel.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French boce, of unknown origin.

Pronunciation:

boss

/bôs/

Main definitions of boss in English

: boss1boss2boss3

boss3

noun

US
informal

Origin

Early 19th century: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation:

boss

/bôs/