show·​boat | \ ˈshō-ˌbōt How to pronounce showboat (audio) \

Definition of showboat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a river steamship containing a theater and carrying a troupe of actors to give plays at river communities
2 : one who tries to attract attention by conspicuous behavior


showboated; showboating; showboats

Definition of showboat (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to behave in a conspicuous or ostentatious manner : show off

Other Words from showboat


showboater noun

Examples of showboat in a Sentence

Noun The fans like him, but the other players think he's a showboat. Verb She was showboating for the cameras when she tripped and fell. the gymnast was showboating for the cameras when she lost her balance and fell
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Marian is the opposite of a showboat, but Foster dims her radiance more than is necessary. Charles Mcnultytheater Critic, Los Angeles Times, 2 May 2022 For an actor, there’s an obvious showboat appeal to playing a serious out-of-control drunk. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 25 Mar. 2022 It's been a story of redemption for Jacobellis, who infamously won an Olympic silver in 2006 after throwing away her lead while attempting to showboat. Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, 12 Feb. 2022 A full 16 years and a world removed from the day the American snowboardcross racer gave away the gold medal with a showboat move near the finish line, Jacobellis rode hard to the end and won it. Eddie Pells And Pat Graham, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 Feb. 2022 A full 16 years and a world removed from the day the American snowboardcross racer gave away the gold medal with a showboat move near the finish line, Jacobellis rode hard to the end and won it. Eddie Pells And Pat Graham,, 9 Feb. 2022 When this pretense is stylized with showboat filmmaking, whatever universal point Anderson tries to make comes off erroneously — snobbish. Armond White, National Review, 5 Nov. 2021 Tammy Faye, meanwhile, is a vivacious believer who falls in love with Jim and is happy to hitch herself to the choo-choo train of his showboat faith. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 12 Sep. 2021 Beyond the showboat rib, the menu brought both surprises and solid standouts. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, 10 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But that was neither showboating nor talking trash. Dalton Ross,, 1 Apr. 2020 There are no showboating gestures here, only a bone-deep commitment to showing us the lives of individuals often relegated to the cinematic sidelines, to the extent that the movies even notice them all. Justin Chang,, 12 Sep. 2019 Three quarters of sleepwalking, showboating and unwatchable basketball, followed by one quarter of the most intense and least-artistic basketball of the season. Scott Ostler,, 16 Feb. 2020 Bill Pullman is the Bilott team’s showboating West Virginia trial lawyer, who celebrates success in the courtroom by snapping his suspenders with satisfaction. David Sims, The Atlantic, 22 Nov. 2019 Fingers a-flutter, Marsalis confidently flew through composer Jacques Ibert’s flamboyant solo section — making sure his virtuosity was that of musicianship, not showboating. Matthew J. Palm,, 29 Sep. 2019 The main negatives for me are showboating and mascots. Bruce Jenkins,, 21 Sep. 2019 Their duel had something often lacking in this memorable era of men’s tennis: an edge, as Kyrgios showboated and intentionally smacked balls at Nadal’s body, ignoring the glares that Nadal sometimes fired back. Christopher Clarey, New York Times, 4 July 2019 Spedding, new guitarist Tom Vanstiphout and saxophonist Jorja Chalmers were particularly combustible—while never showboating or pulling focus from Ferry. Melinda Newman, Billboard, 30 Aug. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of showboat


1839, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1937, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for showboat

Time Traveler

The first known use of showboat was in 1839

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Dictionary Entries Near showboat



show box

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Statistics for showboat

Last Updated

6 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Showboat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for showboat


show·​boat | \ ˈshō-ˌbōt How to pronounce showboat (audio) \

Kids Definition of showboat

: a river steamboat used as a traveling theater

More from Merriam-Webster on showboat Encyclopedia article about showboat


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