boot·​black ˈbüt-ˌblak How to pronounce bootblack (audio)
: one who shines shoes

Examples of bootblack in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In these novels, the protagonists start at the bottom of the pyramid as stock boys, bootblacks, and immigrant buskers. Alissa Quart, Rolling Stone, 14 Mar. 2023 With its title mocking the attempts of phrenology to diminish the worth of African Americans, Smith paints dignified portraits of everyday black people—a bootblack, a washerman—as examples of the unique personalities inherent to every human being. Bryan Greene, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Feb. 2021 Here is the sheet music from which Democrats and their liberal-media bootblacks will sing, should GOP senators adopt a quick motion to dismiss: Republicans perpetrated the ultimate cover up! Deroy Murdock, National Review, 22 Dec. 2019 Joe Bologna was the son, grandson and nephew of bootblacks. Anita Gates, New York Times, 14 Aug. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bootblack.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1817, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bootblack was in 1817

Dictionary Entries Near bootblack

Cite this Entry

“Bootblack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


boot·​black ˈbüt-ˌblak How to pronounce bootblack (audio)
: a person who shines boots and shoes
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