noun, often attributive
\ ˈbȯi How to pronounce boy (audio) \
plural boys

Definition of boy

1a(1) : a male child from birth to adulthood a ten-year-old boy
(2) : a child whose gender identity is male Author Kyle Lukoff told Newsweek, Call Me Max and other books in the series are about a young trans boy figuring out who he is, making new friends, and sharing about himself with his family and community.— Samantha Lock
b : son Even though it made them uncomfortable to have their boy talked about all over town, secretly, Nick's mom and dad were pleased.— Andrew Clements
c : an immature male separate the men from the boys a boy genius
d : a male romantic partner : boyfriend, beau
2a : a man or boy native to a given place a local boy
b : man, person the boys at the office
c used interjectionally to express intensity of feeling Boy, what a game!
3 chiefly US slang : a close male friend Now, the receiver is getting a second chance, thanks to old friend Tom Brady. "Tom is my boy," [Antonio] Brown said Wednesday during his introductory video press conference in Tampa.— Michael Hurley
4 : a male domesticated animal and especially a pet Leo is a 2-year-old pit bull mix. … He loves receiving attention, getting pets and being told he is a good boy.The Denver Post Jean Greening greets the birds in the aviary with whistles, kissing noises, and the phrase, "Who's a pretty boy?"Current Science
5a dated, offensive : a male servant or an enslaved man
b disparaging + offensive used to address a man of color and especially a Black man

Note: The deeply offensive use of the word boy to address an adult man of color has a strong association with sense 5a and is a term expressive of racist condescension.

Other Words from boy

boyhood \ ˈbȯi-​ˌhu̇d How to pronounce boy (audio) \ noun
boyish \ ˈbȯi-​ish How to pronounce boy (audio) \ adjective
boyishly adverb
boyishness noun

Synonyms for boy


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Examples of boy in a Sentence

It's a boy! She gave birth to a baby boy this morning. a nine-year-old boy named David Okay, boys and girls, it's time to play a game. Is this your little boy? That's my boy! Good job, Son. a group of teenage boys My parents want me to meet a nice boy and get married. Don't be so hard on him. He's just a boy. a poor boy from the north Wait till the boys back home hear about this! See More

First Known Use of boy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5a

History and Etymology for boy

Middle English

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Time Traveler for boy

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near boy




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Statistics for boy

Cite this Entry

“Boy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for boy


\ ˈbȯi How to pronounce boy (audio) \

Kids Definition of boy

1 : a male child from birth to young manhood
2 : son sense 1 She has two boys.
3 : a male servant

More from Merriam-Webster on boy

Nglish: Translation of boy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of boy for Arabic Speakers


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