\ bü-ˈhü How to pronounce boo-hoo (audio) , ˈbü-ˌhü \
variants: or boohoo or less commonly boo hoo
boo-hooed or boohooed; boo-hooing or boohooing

Definition of boo-hoo

intransitive verb

: to weep loudly and with sobs … even the impeccable Lord Jeffrey, editor of the Edinburgh Review, confessed to having cried—blubbered, boohooed, snuffled, and sighed—over the death of Little Nell in The Old Curiosity Shop.— Tom Wolfe Joey kept boo-hooing like a real idiot.— Christopher Paul Curtis often used as an interjection especially in mocking imitation of another's tears, complaints, unhappiness, etc. Before she finished her question, one twin and then the other began to cry. "Boohoo, boohoo," Ernie mocked. "I'm not staying with crybabies."— Nancy Smiler LevinsonHe said as long as I was being so pure, why not give her the real scoop on her old man? I said because it would crush her. Boo hoo, he said.— George Saunders

Other Words from boo-hoo

boo-hoo or boohoo noun, plural boo-hoos or boohoos
… the tough Garden crowd reacted with boos instead of boo-hoos. — Richard Johnson
boo-hooing or boohooing noun
"Woman: cease this detestable boohooing instantly; or else seek the shelter of some other place of worship." — George Bernard Shaw No one feels good after being dumped. The loudest boo-hooing seems to be coming from young people … — Jane Bryant Quinn

First Known Use of boo-hoo

1806, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for boo-hoo


Learn More About boo-hoo

Time Traveler for boo-hoo

Time Traveler

The first known use of boo-hoo was in 1806

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near boo-hoo




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for boo-hoo

Cite this Entry

“Boo-hoo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!