noun (1)
\ ˈbäs , ˈbȯs\

Definition of boss

 (Entry 1 of 6)

1a : a protuberant part or body a boss of granite a boss on an animal's horn
b : a raised ornamentation (as on a belt or shield) : stud
c : an ornamental projecting block used in architecture
2 : a soft pad used in ceramics and glassmaking
3 : the hub of a propeller


verb (1)
bossed; bossing; bosses

Definition of boss (Entry 2 of 6)

transitive verb

1 : to embellish (something, such as a belt or shield) with a raised decoration : to ornament with bosses (see boss entry 1) : emboss a bossed book cover
2 : to treat (something, such as the surface of porcelain) with a boss


noun (2)

Definition of boss (Entry 3 of 6)

1 : a person who exercises control or authority union bosses a mafia boss specifically : one who directs or supervises workers asking your boss for a raise
2 politics : one who controls votes in a party organization or dictates appointments or legislative measures standing up to the party bosses


\ ˈbȯs \

Definition of boss (Entry 4 of 6)

: excellent, first-rate a boss new rock band


verb (2)
\ ˈbȯs \
bossed; bossing; bosses

Definition of boss (Entry 5 of 6)

transitive verb

1 : to exercise control or authority over : to act as boss (see boss entry 3) of need someone to boss that job
2 : to give usually arbitrary orders to usually used with around Quit bossing me around.


noun (3)
\ ˈbȯs , ˈbäs\

Definition of boss (Entry 6 of 6)

: cow, calf

Illustration of boss

Illustration of boss

Noun (1)

boss 1c

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from boss

Noun (2)

bossdom \ ˈbäs-​dəm , ˈbȯs-​ \ noun
bossism \ ˈbä-​ˌsi-​zəm , ˈbȯ-​ \ noun

Did You Know?

The Dutch settlements in North America all came under English rule in the 1660s and 1670s, but Dutch continued to be spoken in the region long afterward. In American English, the lexical heritage of the Dutch colonies includes dope, stoop (meaning “porch”), and Santa Claus. Perhaps the most pervasive Dutch loanword is boss, from the Dutch baas, meaning “master.” The word first appears in the form boss in 1806, used by Washington Irving. Part of its success seems to have resulted from an American aversion to master, which was common in British use.

Examples of boss in a Sentence


a boss new rock band that's a really boss stereo you've got

First Known Use of boss

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1653, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1836, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1856, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

1790, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for boss

Noun (1) and Verb (1)

Middle English boce, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *bottia

Noun (2), Adjective, and Verb (2)

Dutch baas master

Noun (3)

English dialect, young cow

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Dictionary Entries near boss






bossa nova


Statistics for boss

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Time Traveler for boss

The first known use of boss was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for boss



English Language Learners Definition of boss

slang : great or excellent


\ ˈbȯs \

Kids Definition of boss

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the person at a job who tells workers what to do
2 : the head of a group (as a political organization)


bossed; bossing

Kids Definition of boss (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give orders to Don't boss me around.


\ ˈbäs, ˈbȯs \

Medical Definition of boss

: a protuberant part or body a boss on an animal's horn

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More from Merriam-Webster on boss

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with boss

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for boss

Spanish Central: Translation of boss

Nglish: Translation of boss for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of boss for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about boss

Comments on boss

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


to deny responsibility for

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