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[boo-muh-rang] /ˈbu məˌræŋ/
a bent or curved piece of tough wood used by the Australian Aborigines as a throwing club, one form of which can be thrown so as to return to the thrower.
something, as a scheme or argument, that does injury to the originator.
  1. a mobile platform, adjustable to different levels, for painting scenery.
  2. a batten, usually suspended vertically in the wings, for holding lighting units.
verb (used without object)
to come back or return, as a boomerang.
to cause harm to the originator; backfire.
Origin of boomerang
1820-30; < Dharuk būmariny Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for boomerang
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is not difficult to see how quickly this particular kind of demonstration becomes a boomerang to the manufacturer.

    The Consumer Viewpoint Mildred Maddocks
  • But then it occurred to me that there was a way of using the weapon which threatened, as a boomerang.

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • This last was a curious "boomerang" effect of the manufacturing clause as extended to binding in the act of 1909.

    Copyright: Its History and Its Law Richard Rogers Bowker
  • Bewildered, she tried to retaliate with the boomerang of vituperation.

    Gigolo Edna Ferber
  • This was the famous "boomerang," so effective a weapon in the hands of the natives, so useless in that of Europeans.

  • Pullingo, who had brought his boomerang, at once eyed them eagerly.

    Twice Lost W.H.G. Kingston
  • Hate, if it starts from love, is a good deal like a boomerang, I guess.

    Vision House C. N. Williamson
  • Occasionally, too, Pullingo brought some down with his boomerang.

    Twice Lost W.H.G. Kingston
  • Luckily, our speed carried us on before it had a chance to ‘boomerang’ back and blow up the old Nairobi.

    Sea-Hounds Lewis R. Freeman
British Dictionary definitions for boomerang


a curved flat wooden missile of native Australians, which can be made to return to the thrower
an action or statement that recoils on its originator
(intransitive) to recoil or return unexpectedly, causing harm to its originator; backfire
Word Origin
C19: from a native Australian language
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for boomerang

1827, adapted from an extinct Aboriginal languages of New South Wales, Australia. Another variant, perhaps, was wo-mur-rang (1798).


1880, from boomerang (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for boomerang



To return to the parental nest: There's a 40 percent chance you'll ''boomerang'' back to live with your parents at least once (1980s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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