Definition of boy in US English:

boy

noun

  • 1A male child or young man.

    ‘a group of six boys’
    • ‘Twenty six boys and girls received their first Holy Communion last Saturday.’
    • ‘This is mainly aimed at children, both boys and girls, between the ages of six and 12.’
    • ‘There are about five or six boys and girls all begging in the area in and around Ae Gams and Mini Market in Sam Nujoma Avenue in Windhoek.’
    • ‘Seeing the children walk to school every day, boys and girls, is a sight that shows daily success.’
    • ‘There were old and young people, little boys and girls, teenagers and babies in prams.’
    • ‘Young girls and boys (the pupils) were being interviewed in a police station with ad hoc interpreters.’
    • ‘Congratulations to all the infant boys and girls that started in Kill National School last week.’
    • ‘Young girls and boys in army uniforms do ceremonial duties.’
    • ‘The Summer Camp are open to all young players, boys and girls, between the ages of 8 and 16.’
    • ‘It trades on facile ideas about city and country, youth and age, boys and girls.’
    • ‘The pair were among six contestants - three boys and three girls - who had only a few minutes to get to know each other.’
    • ‘There are six women and about six boys and girls in the pit I work in; it is very hard work for a woman.’
    • ‘I understand that there is a huge upswing in the sales of hair colourants, especially for the younger girls and boys.’
    • ‘The council is now made up of six boys and girls, all teenagers.’
    • ‘What causes youth violence at our school is mostly girl fights over boys.’
    • ‘Last month, the club organized a 15-day special shooting camp for both boys and girls aged six years and above.’
    • ‘There will be major parts for nine small children - seven girls and two boys, and minor parts for up to ten more.’
    • ‘The number of pupils needed to be taught for one more pupil to know the correct time limits was six for boys and five for girls.’
    • ‘The nine boys and six girls that sat before him greeted him in their different ways.’
    • ‘Police are hunting six yobs - three boys and three girls - aged around 15.’
    lad, schoolboy, child, little one, young one, youngster, youth, young man, young fellow, young adult, young person, teenager, adolescent, juvenile, minor, junior
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A son.
      ‘she put her little boy to bed’
      • ‘She was deeply moved by the recent death of her friend's baby boy.’
      • ‘She has three foster children, two boys and one girl, aged five, six and 14.’
      • ‘My Mother was the last of ten children, six boys and four girls.’
      • ‘The other children, a boy and a girl aged nine and six respectively, are both in grade six.’
      • ‘Bernhard was the second of their six children, two boys and four girls.’
      • ‘Instead of cajoling the boys into bed around 8pm, Garfield now makes sure both are tucked up by 6.30.’
      • ‘Sister Constance was one of seven children, six girls and a boy, born in Essex.’
      • ‘She made it waterproof so it would float, and then placed her dear baby boy into it.’
      • ‘The Benn boys were descended from politicians on both sides of the family.’
      • ‘She wants the right to have her son, the boy she tried to drown, visit her in prison.’
      • ‘Hence the father had quite different plans for the boy; but the son persisted and at last had his way.’
      • ‘I am his sole carer and his mother; he is my little boy and my best friend.’
      • ‘The couple have three teenage children, two boys and a girl.’
      • ‘Of course the rest of the family, wife and two teenage boys are still in bed in denial of the work that looms ahead.’
      • ‘Russell Crowe has written a heartfelt open letter to his baby son to mark the boy's first birthday.’
      • ‘One night as I was tucking the boys into bed, I noticed how much longer their legs seemed since our arrival.’
      • ‘She tucked the boys into their beds, read them a story and sat with them till they fell asleep.’
      • ‘His sons are still little boys, and he takes them out in a boat on the estuary.’
      • ‘Within six hours their baby boy was fighting for his life in intensive care, covered in a dark bruise-like rash.’
      • ‘Father and son, the boy would be 8 or 9, he may be 10, we don't know, who cares anyway?’
    2. 1.2with modifier A male child or young man who does a specified job.
      ‘a delivery boy’
      • ‘Mr King, who was a bread delivery boy, was handed the child after its father collapsed in front of him in Old Tye Avenue, Biggin Hill.’
      • ‘It is important to become a professional sales person rather than a postman or delivery boy or a traditional sales man.’
      • ‘She stood at the front door watching the delivery boy hop back on his bicycle and peddle away.’
      • ‘When I reached the door the redheaded acne covered pizza delivery boy looked very put out.’
      • ‘To top it all off, a telegram delivery boy runs in to deliver messages every so often.’
      • ‘She locks herself in her room, listening to rap music and ignoring everyone except the pizza delivery boy.’
      • ‘He is busy juggling being a pizza delivery boy, a physics student and a superhero.’
      • ‘Besides training regularly with his dad, Roy, James also pounds the miles as a newspaper delivery boy for the Evening Press.’
      • ‘Processed to see what his ideal job position would be, Fry is classified as an ideal delivery boy.’
      • ‘Another catches a pizza delivery boy dropping the pizza and hurriedly putting it back in the box before handing it over.’
      • ‘The musical loosely based on the true story of the New York newspaper boy strike of 1899.’
      • ‘Una sets off to cycle the moors with Ray, the ex-fish and milk delivery boy who now works as a railway guard.’
      • ‘A tenner for the binman and a fiver for the newspaper delivery boy are relics of Christmas past.’
      • ‘At thirteen he took a job as a newspaper and book delivery boy.’
      • ‘When the Manchester Evening News delivery boy found that a pensioner on his round had been robbed he decided to cheer her up.’
      • ‘The sale had been effected by a messenger boy who had no authority to sell liquor or anything else.’
      • ‘As I opened the door I saw the delivery boys were a group of young men laughing and joking.’
      • ‘Opperman initially worked as a bicycle messenger and telegram boy.’
      • ‘Two years ago, the youngster took up a job as a newspaper delivery boy to supplement his mother's earnings.’
      • ‘Jack, of beanstalk fame, makes his fortune as a newspaper delivery boy in this new twist on some old fairy tales.’
  • 2usually with adjective Used informally or lightheartedly to refer to a man.

    ‘the inspector was a local boy’
    • ‘Don't get me wrong, he was a nice guy, he was just nice in the small town naïve frat boy way.’
    • ‘Now, my son's a Texas boy, and had he found the car, someone would have been boot kicked.’
    • ‘Johansson and Christensen fare worse, though, with frat boy fantasies for characters.’
    • ‘It is not hard to see why local boy Steinbeck loved this place despite his depiction of the harshness meted out to some.’
    • ‘This Christmas, which Matt spent on the Ivory Coast, a local boy got sick and nobody knew what was wrong with him.’
    • ‘It will be fantastic for the young kids in Keighley to see a local boy playing in rugby league's showpiece.’
    • ‘He has the looks of the Sixth Former and the body of a Greek Adonis with an innocent farm boy look in his eye.’
    • ‘Perhaps as a backlash against political intolerance, frat boy chic now appears to be king.’
    • ‘A magnificent photo he took of a crying local boy was run on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.’
    • ‘Gregarious and jovial to the point of being manic, his movies are excuses for unforced frat boy fun.’
    • ‘But the stories of avarice and greed and frat boy idiocy are only a part of the tale.’
    • ‘You were few and far between, but it was worth the wait - if you're into that whole surfer grungy tanned beach boy look.’
    • ‘They shouted at the crazy little slave boy who smiled in the face of death.’
    • ‘He could not handle the fact that bovver boy threats and intimidation failed to shut us up.’
    • ‘George sensitively edited her new manuscript and mourned the absence of his lover, a French sailor boy.’
    • ‘The quiet Spanish country boy saw off the experienced American in the Pyrenees and then confirmed his win against the clock.’
    • ‘She was probably the only person to ever see that his eyes were hazel and know that his hair had once been beach boy blonde.’
    • ‘Elvis would never have been able get his mouth around all that college boy wordplay.’
    • ‘Like the late Nick Drake, local boy Summers seems too fragile a creature to last very long on this planet.’
    • ‘He is a local boy, made good; his rise to prominence begun on the back of that most Scottish of virtues - education.’
    man, fellow, gentleman
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1dated Used as a friendly form of address from one man to another, often from an older man to a young man.
      ‘my dear boy, don't say another word!’
      • ‘Events, dear boy, events, prevented me posting as much as I would have liked.’
      • ‘My dear boy - in England some of still have a drink or two at lunch even on a working day.’
      • ‘Pentheus, my dear boy, some cruel insanity-jealousy perhaps has warped your mind.’
      • ‘Wheels of fate have already begun to turn my dear boy, ones that can no longer be stopped.’
      • ‘That's but a legend dear boy, a story told to children in their beds.’
      • ‘As for those innocent people who'll end up being detained: details, dear boy, details.’
    2. 2.2offensive, dated (often used as a form of address) a black male servant or worker.
      attendant, retainer
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3 Used as a form of address to a male dog.
      ‘down boy, down!’
      • ‘Sit! Good Boy!’
      • ‘Bad dog! Down boy!’
      • ‘So during arrests he'd be yelling "Down boy! Down boy!" at the dog and journalists wrote about how hard the officer tried to get the dog off the criminal.’

exclamation

informal
  • Used to express strong feelings, especially of excitement or admiration.

    ‘oh boy, that's wonderful!’
    • ‘The popularity of the established parties is being seriously questioned by voters and, boy, they don't like it.’
    • ‘Weimar is this year's European capital of culture and, boy, does it have culture.’
    • ‘We managed to clean up before we called for help so as not to look conspicuous but, boy!’
    • ‘The Feds say that he wanted to show the flaws in U.S. airline security, and, boy, did he ever.’
    • ‘High, sculpted cheekbones, large, dark eyes and, boy, could she pack a punch.’
    • ‘For the first time, there was a woman doing a man's job and, boy, did she let them know it.’
    • ‘It was courageous to run the last tackle on the short side but, boy, did it pay off.’
    • ‘That's why I hope the two of them split it because, boy, you will see whining and crying then.’
    • ‘Boy, oh boy, was I happy!’
    • ‘There is a certain type of china that is only ever found in old ladies' houses and, boy, I now have plenty to spare.’
    • ‘I don't know how his parents knew when they named him that, but, boy, they got that right.’
    • ‘They ran on stage, as you saw, tried to pelt her with pies, but, boy, she was fast.’
    • ‘A bitter and biting December day in Balerno is no place for niceties and, boy, did these two teams not show us any niceties.’
    • ‘It may have been the right thing to do but, boy, was it ever a stupid political move.’
    • ‘It will take a bit longer to make but, boy, is it worth it.’
    • ‘The next day, I arranged for a group of us to lunch at one and, boy, what a disappointment.’
    • ‘Freddy vs Jason is the battle you've been waiting to see and, boy, does it raise the bar on excitement!’
    • ‘Granted, the sun shone all weekend, but Blackpool has most definitely had a bit of a spruce up and, boy, has it scrubbed up well.’
    • ‘The flowers are large and weigh down the stems of the shrub, especially after a shower - but, boy, are they worth the wait.’
    • ‘When I was a teenager, fanzines were my primary literary outlet - and, boy, did I have fun!’

Phrases

  • boys will be boys

    • Used to express the view that mischievous or childish behavior is typical of boys or young men and should not cause surprise when it occurs.

      • ‘His reply was a sheepish admission that even in time of war, boys will be boys.’
      • ‘The eight-year-old and his friend fight all the way home, but boys will be boys and why else do old Volvos have back seats the size of wrestling rings?’
      • ‘At the end of the second movement, his excitement starts to run a little faster than his bow, but this is a live performance, after all, and boys will be boys.’
      • ‘But since boys will be boys, someone who plays that hard is entitled to party equally hard.’
      • ‘I thought Halloween was over but boys will be boys and he was gathering fireworks up.’
      • ‘Maybe that's the norm outside of school, but I am just plain sorry - when it happened in school, you cannot just simply walk away from it and say boys will be boys.’
      • ‘Moreover, it is assumed that boys will be boys in the sense that they will always try to dominate the classroom conversations, and that girls will just submit to silence.’
      • ‘Not only in popular culture, but even in modern evolutionary psychology, the prevailing myth has long been that boys will be boys and girls will be, well, good.’
      • ‘Biology, it seems, is why boys will be boys, and why women would do well to get over it and stop demanding that they learn to talk about their inner landscapes.’
      • ‘Robert really does seem to be saying that speed limits should only be enforced in a very few places, and… elsewhere… well… boys will be boys.’
  • the big boys

    • Men or organizations considered to be the most powerful and successful.

      • ‘It also doesn't hurt that the big boys at Miramax are blowing their horns in support of the movie either.’
      • ‘Far from taking on the big boys, funds are now half what they were in 1996.’
      • ‘But one trend is clear: smaller retailers are suffering while the big boys are doing fine.’
      • ‘When the big boys come to town there can only be one winner: and it's never going to be the little man.’
      • ‘Somebody described hotels like ours as pilot fish for the big boys.’
      • ‘The same pressures to cut a separate deal with the big boys will test the new formation.’
      • ‘So I've had to have strong words with my telecom company and get the big boys out to try to end this electronic nightmare.’
      • ‘His advice is essentially to get in with the big boys, ride on their coat tails, and pick up their crumbs.’
      • ‘The big boys wanted to undercut prices to force the small guys out of business.’
      • ‘You could argue that the funding is in place to keep the little guys in the game against the big boys in the major parties.’
  • one of the boys

    • An accepted member of a group, especially a group of men.

      ‘he expected to be treated just like one of the boys’
      ‘Ms. Patton is one of the boys’
      • ‘In McDonnell's pub, we find the legend casually dressed as one of the boys.’
      • ‘I spent the first few years of my 12 in the Air Force trying my best to be one of the boys.’
      • ‘But on this particular morning, he decided to try and be one of the boys with me.’
      • ‘Back in the day, no one wanted to go near him, now, he's just one of the boys.’
      • ‘Since I was little I have always preferred to be one of the boys and most of my mates are lads.’
      • ‘The first couple of days I think it was a bit of a novelty factor for the other clients here at the Centre, but now I'm just one of the boys.’
      • ‘Friedman is treated in some ways much more as one of the boys than is the other woman on the team of eight screenwriters.’
      • ‘I recall being made to feel like "one of the boys" for all the wrong reasons by our cookery teacher.’
      • ‘It wasn't until he got back home to Canada that Angus realized that he wasn't "one of the boys" any longer.’
      • ‘But Stan was not there to do anything more than simply be one of the boys, shooting more underwater video footage for himself.’
      • ‘There are more than a few who would like to be accepted as one of the boys.’
      • ‘The warrant the police used to enter and search Aspinall's home was for police officers only - and Cherry was not one of the boys in blue.’
      • ‘They began to welcome me as one of the boys.’
      • ‘Did he feel like one of the boys or did they treat him like a technician?’
      • ‘During the course of these interviews, he had tried to sort of be one of the boys.’
      • ‘He still had the ability to have a laugh and be one of the boys but he was serious when he needed to be.’
      • ‘I reached the rank of editor by being one of the boys, although I didn't recognise this until much later.’
      • ‘The classroom joker at mainstream Old Clee Infants' School in Grimsby, he thrives on the rough and tumble of being just one of the boys.’
      • ‘In my memoir, I spend a fair amount of time recounting how I spent the first few years of my 12 in the Air Force trying to be one of the boys.’
      • ‘For him, being one of the boys is about boozing and backslaps.’

Origin

Middle English (denoting a male servant): of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

boy

/boi//bɔɪ/