blush (n.) Look up blush at
mid-14c., "a look, a glance" (sense preserved in at first blush "at first glance"), also "a gleam, a gleaming" (late 14c.), from blush (v.). As "a reddening of the face" from 1590s. Meaning "a rosy color" is also from 1590s.
bluster (v.) Look up bluster at
late 14c., "stray blindly or blunderingly, wander aimlessly, go astray;" c. 1400, of persons, "shout loudly and angrily," from a Low German source, such as Middle Low German blüstren "to blow violently," East Frisian blüstern "to bluster," probably from the same source as blow (v.1), or perhaps imitative. Of weather in English from mid-15c. Related: Blustered; blustering.
bluster (n.) Look up bluster at
1580s, "a storm of violent wind," from bluster (v.). Meaning "noisy, boisterous, inflated talk" is from 1704.
blustery (adj.) Look up blustery at
1739, "noisy, swaggering," of persons; 1774, "rough, stormy," of weather; from bluster (n.) + -y (2). Blustering is from 1510s as "stormy, tempestuous;" 1650s as "boastful, swaggering." Shakespeare used blusterous.
BMX Look up BMX at
"dirt-track bicycle racing," 1978, semi-acronym from bicycle motocross.
bo tree (n.) Look up bo tree at
1680s, from Sinhalese bo, from Pali bodhi, short for bodhi-taru "bo tree," literally "tree of wisdom or enlightenment" (related to Sanskrit buddhah "awakened," from PIE root *bheudh- "be aware, make aware") + taru "tree."
bo-peep (n.) Look up bo-peep at
1520s, the older name of the nursery play known in U.S. as peek-a-boo; see peep (n.1).
boa (n.) Look up boa at
late 14c., "large snake," from Latin boa, type of large serpent mentioned in Pliny's "Natural History;" origin unknown (in medieval folk etymology the name was associated with Greek bous "ox"). Applied by 1620s to a type of large, non-venomous serpent of the South American tropics that kills by constricting its prey. Extension to "snake-like wrap of fur worn around the throat" is from 1836. The popular name boa constrictor is by 1808 in English (from 1770s in German, 1780s in French).
Boanerges Look up Boanerges at
name given by Christ to his disciples John and James, the two sons of Zebedee (Mark iii.17), Late Latin, from Ecclesiastical Greek Boanerges, from a Galilean dialectal corruption of Hebrew bene reghesh "sons of rage" (interpreted in Greek as "sons of thunder"), from bene (see B'nai B'rith) + reghesh "commotion, tumult, throng." Applied figuratively to zealous or loud preachers.
boar (n.) Look up boar at
Old English bar "boar, uncastrated male swine," from Proto-Germanic *bairaz (source also of Old Saxon ber, Dutch beer, Old High German ber "a boar"), which is of unknown origin with no cognates outside West Germanic.

Originally of either wild or tame animals; wild boar is from c. 1200. The chase of the wild boar was considered one of the most exciting sports. Applied by c. 1300 to persons of boar-like character.
board (n.2) Look up board at
"side of ship," Old English bord "border, rim, ship's side," from Proto-Germanic *bordaz (source also of Old Saxon bord, Dutch boord "border, edge, ship's side," German Bord "margin, border," Old High German bart, Old Norse barð "margin, shore, ship-board"), perhaps from the same source as board (n.1), but not all sources accept this. Connected to border; see also starboard.

If not etymologically related to board (n.1), the two forms represented in English by these words were nonetheless confused at an early date in most Germanic languages, a situation made worse in English because this Germanic word also was adopted in Medieval Latin as bordus (source of Italian and Spanish bordo) and entered Old French as bort "beam, board, plank; side of a ship" (12c., Modern French bord), via either Medieval Latin or Frankish, and from thence it came over with the Normans to mingle with its native cousins. By now the senses are inextricably tangled. Some etymology dictionaries treat them as having been the same word all along.

To go by the board originally was "fall overboard" (1757), of a mast, etc., hence, generally, "be completely lost or destroyed" (1835). To be on board is from c. 1500, originally nautical, "close alongside;" then, less technically, "on the ship" (1708), perhaps by influence of aboard, or from the noun in the sense "plank;" extended to trains, planes, general situations.
board (n.1) Look up board at
"piece of timber sawn flat and thin, longer than it is wide, wider than it is thick, narrower than a plank;" Old English bord "a plank, flat surface," from Proto-Germanic *burdam (source also of Old Norse borð "plank," Dutch bord "board," Gothic fotu-baurd "foot-stool," German Brett "plank"), perhaps from a PIE verb meaning "to cut." See also board (n.2), with which this is so confused as practically to form one word (if indeed they were not the same word all along).

In late Old English or early Middle English the sense was extended to include "table;" hence the transferred meaning "food" (early 14c.), as "that which is served upon a table," especially "daily meals provided at a place of lodging" (late 14c.). Compare boarder, boarding, and Old Norse borð, which also had a secondary sense of "table" and an extended sense "maintenance at table." Hence also above board "honest, open" (1610s; compare modern under the table "dishonest"). A further extension is to "table where council is held" (1570s), then transferred to "leadership council, persons having the management of some public or private concern" (1610s), as in board of directors (1712).
"Bow to the board," said Bumble. Oliver brushed away two or three tears that were lingering in his eyes; and seeing no board but the table, fortunately bowed to that.
Meaning "table upon which public notices are written" is from mid-14c. Meaning "table upon which a game is played" is from late 14c. Meaning "thick, stiff paper" is from 1530s. Boards "stage of a theater" is from 1768.
board (v.) Look up board at
various senses from board (n.1) and board (n.2): "come alongside" (a ship), mid-15c. (from n.2); "put boards on, frame with boards," late 14c. (from n.1); "close with boards" (1885, typically with up, from n.1). The meaning "get onto" a ship (1590s, from n.2), was transferred mid-19c. to stages, railway cars, and later aircraft, etc.

Meaning "to be supplied with food and lodging" (from n.1 in transferred sense) is from 1550s. Transitive meaning "provide with daily meals and lodging" is from 1590s. Related: Boarded; boarding.
board-game (n.) Look up board-game at
also boardgame, 1867, from board (n.1) + game (n.). Compare German Brettspiel.
boarder (n.) Look up boarder at
1520s, "one who has food and/or lodging at the house of another," agent noun from board (v.) in the "be supplied with food" sense. Nautical meaning "one who boards (an enemy's) ship" to attack it is from 1769, from a verbal sense derived from board (n.2).
boarding (n.) Look up boarding at
1530s, "supplying of meals, food and lodging," from board (n.1) in its extended sense of "food" (via notion of "table"). Boarding-school is from 1670s; boarding-house attested from 1728.
boardroom (n.) Look up boardroom at
also board-room, 1731, from board (n.1) in the sense of "table where council is held" + room (n.).
boardwalk (n.) Look up boardwalk at
"walkway made of boards," 1864, American English, from board (n.1) + walk (n.). As a seaside attraction from 1881, first in reference to Atlantic City, N.J.
boast (n.) Look up boast at
mid-13c., "arrogance, presumption, pride, vanity;" c. 1300, "a brag, boastful speech," from Anglo-French bost "ostentation," probably from a Scandinavian source (compare Norwegian baus "proud, bold, daring"), from Proto-Germanic *bausia "to blow up, puff up, swell" (source also of Middle High German bus "swelling," dialectal German baustern "to swell;" Middle Dutch bose, Dutch boos "evil, wicked, angry," Old High German bosi "worthless, slanderous," German böse "evil, bad, angry"), from PIE *bhou-, variant of root *beu-, *bheu-, a root supposed to have formed words associated with swelling (see bull (n.2)).

The notion apparently is of being "puffed up" with pride; compare Old English belgan "to become angry, offend, provoke," belg "anger, arrogance," from the same root as bellows and belly (n.). Meaning "a cause of boasting, occasion of pride" is from 1590s.Related: Boasted; boasting. An Old English word for "boasting" was micelsprecende "big talk."
boast (v.) Look up boast at
mid-14c., "to brag, speak arrogantly," from Anglo-French, from the same source as boast (n.). Meaning "speak with pride" is late 14c. Sense of "glory or exult in possessing" (something) is from 1540s; that of "possess something remarkable or admirable" is from 1690s. Related: Boasted; boasting.
boastful (adj.) Look up boastful at
"given to boasting," early 14c., from boast (n.) + -ful. Related: Boastfully; boastfulness.
boat (n.) Look up boat at
"small open vessel (smaller than a ship) used to cross waters, propelled by oars, a sail, or (later) an engine," Old English bat, from Proto-Germanic *bait- (source also of Old Norse batr, Dutch boot, German Boot), possibly from PIE root *bheid- "to split," if the notion is of making a boat by hollowing out a tree trunk or from split planking. Or it may be an extension of the name for some part of a ship.

French bateau "boat" is from Old English or Norse. Spanish batel, Italian battello, Medieval Latin batellus likewise probably are from Germanic. Of serving vessels resembling a boat, by 1680s. The image of being in the same boat "subject to similar challenges and difficulties" is by 1580s; to rock the boat "disturb stability" is from 1914.
boat-house (n.) Look up boat-house at
"shed for storing boats and protecting them from weather," 1722, from boat (n.) + house (n.).
boater (n.) Look up boater at
"stiff, flat straw hat," 1896, from boat (n.). So called for being suitable to wear while boating.
boatswain (n.) Look up boatswain at
mid-15c., from late Old English batswegen, from bat "boat" (see boat (n.)) + Old Norse sveinn "boy" (see swain).
BOATSWAIN. The warrant officer who in the old Navy was responsible for all the gear that set the ship in motion and all the tackle that kept her at rest. [Sir Geoffrey Callender, "Sea Passages," 1943]
He also summons the hands to their duties with a silver whistle. Phonetic spelling bo'sun/bosun is attested from 1840. Fowler [1926] writes, "The nautical pronunciation (bō'sn) has become so general that to avoid it is more affected than to use it."
bob (n.3) Look up bob at
slang word for "shilling," 1789, but the signification is unknown.
bob (n.2) Look up bob at
"short hair," 1680s; attested 1570s in sense of "a horse's tail cut short," from earlier bobbe "cluster" (as of leaves), mid-14c., a northern word, perhaps of Celtic origin (compare Irish baban "tassel, cluster," Gaelic babag).

The group of bob words in English is of obscure and mostly colloquial origin; some originally were perhaps vaguely imitative, but they have become more or less entangled and merged in form and sense. As a noun, it has been used over the years in various senses connected by the notion of "round, hanging mass," and of weights at the end of a fishing line (1610s), pendulum (1752) or plumb-line (1832). The hair sense was revived with a shift in women's styles starting in 1918 (when it was regarded as a sign of radicalism) and the modern noun meaning "a bobbed hair style" dates from 1920.
In the latter years of the decade [1920s] bobbed hair became almost universal among girls in their twenties, very common among women in their thirties and forties, and by no means rare among women of sixty .... Women universally adopted the small cloche hat which fitted tightly on the bobbed head, and the manufacturer of milliner's materials joined the hair-net manufacturer, the hair-pin manufacturer, and the cotton goods and woolen goods and corset manufacturers, among the ranks of depressed industries. [Frederick Lewis Allen, "Only Yesterday"]
Related words include bobby pin, bobby sox, bobsled, bobcat.
bob (v.1) Look up bob at
"move up and down with a short, jerking motion," late 14c., probably connected to Middle English bobben "to strike in cruel jest, beat; fool, make a fool of, cheat, deceive" (early 14c.), which is perhaps from Old French bober "mock, deride," perhaps ultimately of echoic origin. Related: Bobbed; bobbing. The sense "snatch with the mouth something hanging or floating," as in bobbing for apples (or cherries), is recorded by 1799. To bob and weave in boxing is by 1928. Compare bob (n.2).
Bob Look up Bob at
a familiar shortening and alteration of the masc. proper name Robert. British slang phrase Bob's your uncle "everything's all right" is attested by 1937. It seems to echo the old use noted in the 1725 "Canting Dictionary," which reports "Bob ... signifies Safety, ... as, It's all Bob, i. e. All is safe, the Bet is secured."
bob (v.2) Look up bob at
"to cut short and even all around," 1822, from bob (n.2). Related: Bobbed.
bob (n.1) Look up bob at
"act of suddenly jerking up and down," 1540s, from bob (v.1).
Bobadil (n.) Look up Bobadil at
"blustering braggart," from the name of a boastful character in Ben Jonson's "Every Man in his Humour" (1598).
bobbin (n.) Look up bobbin at
"pin or spool around which thread or yarn is wound," 1520s, from French bobine, small instrument used in sewing or tapestry-making, of uncertain origin, perhaps from Latin balbus (see babble (v.)) for the stuttering, stammering noise it made.
bobbinet (n.) Look up bobbinet at
"machine-made cotton netting," 1819, earlier bobbin-net (1814), from bobbin + net (n.).
bobble (v.) Look up bobble at
1812, frequentative of bob (v.1). The notion is "to move or handle something with continual bobbing." Related: Bobbled; bobbling. Bobble-head as a type of doll with a spring-mounted head is from 1968.
bobby (n.) Look up bobby at
"London policeman," 1844, from the familiar diminutive form of the masc. proper name Robert, in reference to Mr. (later Sir) Robert Peel (1788-1850), Home Secretary who introduced the Metropolitan Police Act (10 Geo IV, c.44) of 1829. Compare peeler.
bobby pin (n.) Look up bobby pin at
1928, from diminutive of bob (n.2) + pin (n.).
bobby sox (n.) Look up bobby sox at
also bobby socks, 1943, from diminutive of bob (n.2) + sox. So called because they are "shortened" compared to knee-socks. Derivative bobby-soxer "adolescent girl," especially with reference to fans of popular crooners, first attested 1944.
Months ago colored bobby sox folded at the top were decreed, not by anyone or any group but, as usual, by a sudden mysterious and universal acceptance of the new idea. Now no teen-ager dares wear anything but pure white socks without a fold. ["Life" magazine, Dec. 11, 1944]
bobcat (n.) Look up bobcat at
North American lynx, 1873, in a Maine context; so called for its short tail; see bob (n.2) + cat (n.).
bobolink (n.) Look up bobolink at
North American passerine bird, 1796, American English, earlier bob-lincoln, bob-o-Lincoln (1774), imitative of its hearty spring song.
bobsled (n.) Look up bobsled at
also bob-sled, 1839, originally used for hauling timber, from bob (n.2) + sled (n.). So called because it is a short type, or because its body rested on short bobs, one behind the other.
bobtail (n.) Look up bobtail at
also bob-tail, c. 1600, "tail of a horse cut short," from bob (n.2) + tail (n.). Related: Bobtailed.
bobwhite (n.) Look up bobwhite at
also bob-white, North American partridge or quail, 1819, so called from the sound of its cry.
Boccaccio Look up Boccaccio at
the name means "big-mouth" in Italian, from boccaccia, augmentative of bocca "mouth" (see bouche).
bocce (n.) Look up bocce at
ball game related to bowls, 1860, from Italian bocce "(wooden) balls," plural of boccia, which is related to French bosse "bump, hump," perhaps from a Germanic source.
Boche (n.) Look up Boche at
"German soldier in World War I," 1914, perhaps from French slang boche "rascal," applied to the Germans; a word of unknown origin. Another theory traces it to French Allemand "German," in eastern French Al(le)moche, altered contemptuously to Alboche by association with caboche, a slang word for "head," literally "cabbage" (compare tete de boche, French for "German" in an 1887 slang dictionary). All the French terms are no older than mid-19c.
bock (n.) Look up bock at
strong, dark type of German beer, 1856, from German ambock, from Bavarian dialectal pronunciation of Einbecker bier, from Einbeck, Hanover, where it was first brewed; popularly associated with Bock "a goat." Brewed in December and January, drunk in May.
bod (n.) Look up bod at
1788, "a person," short for body. Meaning "physical body" is recorded from 1933.
bodacious (adj.) Look up bodacious at
1837 (implied in bodaciously), Southern U.S. slang, perhaps from bodyaciously "bodily, totally," or a blend of bold and audacious, which suits the earliest attested sense of the word. Popularized anew by the 1982 Hollywood film "An Officer and a Gentleman."
bode (v.) Look up bode at
Old English bodian "proclaim, announce; announce beforehand, foretell," from boda "messenger," probably from Proto-Germanic *budon- (source also of Old Saxon gibod, German gebot, Old Norse boð), from PIE root *bheudh- "be aware, make aware."

With good or ill, "give a (good or bad) potent or promise," late 14c. As a shortened form of forebode "presage" (usually something evil), it dates from 1740. Related: Boded; boding.