\ ˈbü How to pronounce boo (audio) \

Definition of boo

 (Entry 1 of 4)

used to express contempt or disapproval or to startle or frighten


noun (1)
plural boos

Definition of boo (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : a shout of disapproval or contempt
2 : any utterance at all usually used in negative constructions never said boo


booed; booing; boos

Definition of boo (Entry 3 of 4)

intransitive verb

: to deride especially by uttering a prolonged boo

transitive verb

: to express disapproval of by booing the crowd booed the referee


noun (2)
plural boos

Definition of boo (Entry 4 of 4)

US slang
: a romantic partner : sweetheart, honey Your parents might keep a sharp eye on potential partners and your besties may lay down difficult "friend tests," but only one real opinion on your new boo truly matters: what your dog thinks of them.— Jaime Lees This has left me skeptical of all new relationships—including my new boo.— Griffin Wynne

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Synonyms & Antonyms for boo

Synonyms: Noun (1)

bird [chiefly British], Bronx cheer, catcall, hiss, hoot, jeer, raspberry, razz, snort

Antonyms: Noun (1)


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Examples of boo in a Sentence

Noun (1)

A chorus of boos was heard after the shot missed the goal. The announcement was greeted by a mixture of boos and cheers.


Many people in the crowd booed when the announcement was made. Many people in the crowd booed the announcement, but a few people cheered it.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Interjection

C’mon, when the day began the Dodgers were in third place in the standings, but led the league in pitching and led all of baseball in run differential and … boo! Bill Plaschke, latimes.com, "From day to day, the Dodgers stay unpredictable," 25 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Meanwhile, all anyone can hear is a mixture of boos and anarchic yelling from the audience. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Looking Back at the VMAs 10 Years Later: A Billboard Staff Kanye/Taylor Roundtable," 22 Aug. 2019 When a parent responds to a baby’s coos or cries by picking them up or playing peak-a-boo with them for example, the back-and-forth helps build the baby’s brain architecture, which is later tied to children’s learning, behavior, and health outcomes. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "Smartphones are disrupting the crucial connections between parents and their babies," 31 July 2019 The sun will play peek-a-boo in upcoming days, with a show of force early and late this week and periods with a chance of thunderstorms in between. Jeanne Houck, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati weather: When we can expect to see sun and rain this week," 5 June 2019 From the front, the peek-a-boo design goes seemingly unnoticed, especially when her shoulder skimming waves are left down. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Halle Berry Reveals a Radical New Buzzcut on the Red Carpet," 16 May 2019 Before the game, Miley predicted to his manager there would be be boos. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros edge Orioles for 7th straight win," 9 Aug. 2019 By July 2018, Spears kicked off her Piece of Me tour, her first one since ending her four-year Las Vegas residency, and got a visit from her boo in Belgium. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "A Look Back at Britney Spears and Sam Asghari's PDA-Packed Relationship (So Far)," 24 July 2019 There were a few boos, but most spectators were there to show their support. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Prince Charles and Camilla’s Wedding Involved Way More Drama Than Most People Realize," 18 July 2018 Gabe Kapler’s first public reaction from Philadelphia fans was a loud boo as he was introduced before Thursday’s home opener at Citizens Bank Park. Matt Breen, Philly.com, "Phillies fans boo Gabe Kapler at home opener," 5 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Jacoby Brissett had a difficult time listening to Andrew Luck being booed by fans after news his retirement broke on Saturday night. Alaa Abdeldaiem, SI.com, "Jacoby Brissett on Hearing Fans Boo Andrew Luck: 'That Hurt More Than Anything'," 26 Aug. 2019 The Jonathan Glazer film was booed by critics at its 2004 Venice premiere, but one can offer nothing but high praise for Kidman’s ability to pull off altar boy hair. Sangeeta Singh-kurtz, Quartzy, "A brief history of Nicole Kidman’s iconic wigs," 22 Aug. 2019 Shaheen was even booed by Sanders supporters at a large state party dinner named after her just days before the presidential primary. James Pindell, BostonGlobe.com, "In New Hampshire, can lightning strike twice for a liberal like Bernie Sanders?," 11 Aug. 2019 The Lions got booed by their home crowd on their way to the locker room in their preseason opener. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions' preseason opener shows why you don't play starters in Game 1," 8 Aug. 2019 Johnson was jeered and booed by the crowd on arrival. Joe Mayes, Bloomberg.com, "Brexit Bulletin: Johnson’s Ultimatum," 30 July 2019 Hinkle, 26, eventually did withdraw from playing in two international friendlies games for the United States, and, according to the Associated Press, was later booed at Courage games by fans waving Pride flags. Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "USWNT's Ashlyn Harris Calls Ex-Teammate 'Homophobic' After She Declined Call-Up Over Pride Jersey," 16 July 2019 Sanders last spoke at Netroots Nation in 2015, when he and fellow presidential candidate Martin O’Malley were repeatedly heckled and booed by Black Lives Matter activists. NBC News, "Sanders consolidated the left in 2016. Now he risks losing the leader spot to Warren.," 13 July 2019 Charlo, who graduated from Alief Hastings High School, hopes to get a rematch later in the year with Harrison, who also was sitting ringside and was booed by the crowd when shown on the arena's video screen after the fight. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "Jermell Charlo scores thunderous knockout win over Jorge Cota," 23 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'boo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of boo


1639, in the meaning defined above

Noun (1)

1884, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1833, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun (2)

1988, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for boo


[expressive formation; the voiced labial release and high vowel presumably heighten the suddenness of the utterance]

Noun (1)

derivative of boo entry 1


derivative of boo entry 2

Noun (2)

of uncertain origin

Note: Perhaps ultimately a hypocoristic reduction of brother, applied to unrelated males, but the details are unclear.

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Statistics for boo

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for boo

The first known use of boo was in 1639

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More Definitions for boo



English Language Learners Definition of boo

: to show dislike or disapproval of someone or something by shouting "Boo" slowly
\ ˈbü How to pronounce boo (audio) \

Kids Definition of boo

 (Entry 1 of 3)

used to express disapproval or to startle or frighten


plural boos

Kids Definition of boo (Entry 2 of 3)

: a cry expressing disapproval


booed; booing

Kids Definition of boo (Entry 3 of 3)

: to express disapproval of with boos

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More from Merriam-Webster on boo

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with boo

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for boo

Spanish Central: Translation of boo

Nglish: Translation of boo for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of boo for Arabic Speakers

Comments on boo

What made you want to look up boo? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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