boss 1[baws, bos] SynonymsExamplesWord Origin See more synonyms for boss on noun

  1. a person who employs or superintends workers; manager.
  2. a politician who controls the party organization, as in a particular district.
  3. a person who makes decisions, exercises authority, dominates, etc.: My grandfather was the boss in his family.

verb (used with object)

  1. to be master of or over; manage; direct; control.
  2. to order about, especially in an arrogant manner.

verb (used without object)

  1. to be boss.
  2. to be too domineering and authoritative.


  1. chief; master.
  2. Slang. first-rate.

Origin of boss 1 1640–50, Americanism; Dutch baas master, foremanSynonyms for boss See more synonyms for on 1. supervisor, head, foreman, chief, superintendent, administrator, overseer. boss 2[baws, bos] noun

  1. Botany, Zoology. a protuberance or roundish excrescence on the body or on some organ of an animal or plant.
  2. Geology. a knoblike mass of rock, especially an outcrop of igneous or metamorphic rock.
  3. an ornamental protuberance of metal, ivory, etc.; stud.
  4. Architecture.
    1. an ornamental, knoblike projection, as a carved keystone at the intersection of ogives.
    2. a stone roughly formed and set in place for later carving.
  5. Bookbinding. one of several pieces of brass or other metal inset into the cover of a book to protect the corners or edges or for decoration.
  6. Machinery. a small projection on a casting or forging.
  7. Nautical. a projecting part in a ship’s hull, or in one frame of a hull, fitting around a propeller shaft.

verb (used with object)

  1. to ornament with bosses.
  2. to emboss.
  3. (in plumbing) to hammer (sheet metal, as lead) to conform to an irregular surface.

Origin of boss 2 1250–1300; Middle English boce Anglo-French: lump, growth, boil; Old French Vulgar Latin *bottia, of uncertain origin boss 3[bos, baws] noun

  1. a familiar name for a calf or cow.

Origin of boss 3 1790–1800, Americanism; compare dial. (SW England) borse, boss, buss six-month-old calf boss 4[bos] adjective Scot.

  1. hollow; empty.

Origin of boss 4First recorded in 1505–15; of obscure origin Related Words for boss administrator, supervisor, executive, employer, director, chief, owner, chieftain, leader, fly, top, fine, champion, capital, wheel, head, honcho, superintendent, exec, overseer Examples from the Web for boss Contemporary Examples of boss

  • Based on the hat he had created for himself, Stetson made a version called “The Boss of the Plains.”

    My Love Letter to the Stetson

    Mark McKinnon

    December 24, 2014

  • Like his boss al-Baghdadi, he was captured by U.S. forces and served time in Camp Bucca.

    Iraqi Kurds Get Their Groove Back, End Siege of Mount Sinjar

    Jamie Dettmer

    December 20, 2014

  • I later told my boss about what had happened, but she told me that I probably misunderstood the situation.

    ‘I Saved My Friend From Bill Cosby’

    Lloyd Grove

    December 3, 2014

  • His sensitivity to this problem came out in his first sharp disagreement with his boss, VMI superintendent Francis H. Smith.

    Stonewall Jackson, VMI’s Most Embattled Professor

    S. C. Gwynne

    November 29, 2014

  • Scrutinizing the lines on your face, she strokes your cheek and asks if your boss is working you too hard.

    How to Make It Through Thanksgiving Alive

    Lizzie Crocker

    November 26, 2014

  • Historical Examples of boss

  • Why can’t we do a bit for ourselves over this; it won’t hurt the boss none.


    W. A. Fraser

  • “Here’s a letter from me boss, sor,” he blurted out, holding it toward me.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • He soon saw that the great Bull, ‘the boss of the bunch,’ was covered with blood.

    The Biography of a Grizzly

    Ernest Seton-Thompson

  • I begin to sympathize with the boss, because I know what he felt when I ballyragged him for copy.

    The Gentleman From Indiana

    Booth Tarkington

  • Their boss wouldn’t let ’em say a word and you’d lose your chance of watching ’em.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • British Dictionary definitions for boss boss 1 noun

    1. a person in charge of or employing others
    2. mainly US a professional politician who controls a party machine or political organization, often using devious or illegal methods


    1. to employ, supervise, or be in charge of
    2. (usually foll by around or about) to be domineering or overbearing towards (others)


    1. slang excellent; finea boss hand at carpentry; that’s boss!

    Word Origin for boss C19: from Dutch baas master; probably related to Old High German basa aunt, Frisian baes master boss 2 noun

    1. a knob, stud, or other circular rounded protuberance, esp an ornamental one on a vault, a ceiling, or a shield
    2. biology any of various protuberances or swellings in plants and animals
      1. an area of increased thickness, usually cylindrical, that strengthens or provides room for a locating device on a shaft, hub of a wheel, etc
      2. a similar projection around a hole in a casting or fabricated component
    3. an exposed rounded mass of igneous or metamorphic rock, esp the uppermost part of an underlying batholith

    verb (tr)

    1. to ornament with bosses; emboss

    Word Origin for boss C13: from Old French boce, from Vulgar Latin bottia (unattested); related to Italian bozza metal knob, swelling boss 3bossy noun plural bosses or bossies

    1. a calf or cow

    Word Origin for boss C19: from dialect buss calf, perhaps ultimately from Latin bōs cow, ox BOSS n acronym for (formerly)

    1. Bureau of State Security; a branch of the South African security police

    Word Origin and History for boss n.1

    “overseer,” 1640s, American English, from Dutch baas “a master,” Middle Dutch baes, of obscure origin. If original sense was “uncle,” perhaps it is related to Old High German basa “aunt,” but some sources discount this theory. The Dutch form baas is attested in English from 1620s as the standard title of a Dutch ship’s captain. The word’s popularity in U.S. may reflect egalitarian avoidance of master (n.) as well as the need to distinguish slave from free labor. The slang adjective meaning “excellent” is recorded in 1880s, revived, apparently independently, in teen and jazz slang in 1950s.


    “protuberance, button,” c.1300, from Old French boce “a hump, swelling, tumor” (12c., Modern French bosse), from either Frankish *botija or Vulgar Latin *bottia, both of uncertain origin.


    1856, from boss (n.1). Related: Bossed; bossing.

    boss in Medicine boss [bôs] n.

    1. A circumscribed rounded swelling; a protuberance.
    2. The prominence of a kyphosis or humpback.

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