plural boys
often attributive
1
a(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
2
a
: 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
5
a
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.

boyhood noun
boyish adjective
boyishly adverb
boyishness noun

Example Sentences

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near boy

Cite this Entry

“Boy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/boy. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

1
: a male child from birth to young manhood
2
boyhood noun
boyish adjective
boyishly adverb
boyishness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on boy

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