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13c., from Old French bovier "herdsman," from Latin bovis, genitive of bos "cow, ox." Re-introduced 16c. from Dutch boer, from Middle Dutch gheboer "fellow dweller," from Proto-Germanic *buram "dweller," especially "farmer," from PIE *bhu-, from root *bheue- (see be). Original meaning was "peasant farmer" (cf. German Bauer, Dutch boer, Danish bonde), and in English it was at first applied to agricultural laborers in or from other lands, as opposed to the native yeoman; negative connotation attested by 1560s (in boorish), from notion of clownish rustics. Related: Boorishness.