1 [baws, bos]
a person who employs or superintends workers; manager.
a politician who controls the party organization, as in a particular district.
a person who makes decisions, exercises authority, dominates, etc.: My grandfather was the boss in his family.
verb (used with object)
to be master of or over; manage; direct; control.
to order about, especially in an arrogant manner.
verb (used without object)
to be boss.
to be too domineering and authoritative.
chief; master.
Slang. first-rate.

1640–50, Americanism; < Dutch baas master, foreman

1. supervisor, head, foreman, chief, superintendent, administrator, overseer. Unabridged


2 [baws, bos]
Botany, Zoology. a protuberance or roundish excrescence on the body or on some organ of an animal or plant.
Geology. a knoblike mass of rock, especially an outcrop of igneous or metamorphic rock.
an ornamental protuberance of metal, ivory, etc.; stud.
an ornamental, knoblike projection, as a carved keystone at the intersection of ogives.
a stone roughly formed and set in place for later carving.
Bookbinding. one of several pieces of brass or other metal inset into the cover of a book to protect the corners or edges or for decoration.
Machinery. a small projection on a casting or forging.
Nautical. a projecting part in a ship's hull, or in one frame of a hull, fitting around a propeller shaft.
verb (used with object)
to ornament with bosses.
to emboss.
(in plumbing) to hammer (sheet metal, as lead) to conform to an irregular surface.

1250–1300; Middle English boce < Anglo-French: lump, growth, boil; Old French < Vulgar Latin *bottia, of uncertain origin


3 [bos, baws]
a familiar name for a calf or cow.

1790–1800, Americanism; compare dial. (SW England) borse, boss, buss six-month-old calf


4 [bos]
adjective Scot.
hollow; empty.

1505–15; of obscure origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
boss1 (bɒs)
1.  a person in charge of or employing others
2.  chiefly (US) a professional politician who controls a party machine or political organization, often using devious or illegal methods
vb (usually foll by around or about)
3.  to employ, supervise, or be in charge of
4.  to be domineering or overbearing towards (others)
5.  slang excellent; fine: a boss hand at carpentry; that's boss!
[C19: from Dutch baas master; probably related to Old High German basa aunt, Frisian baes master]

boss2 (bɒs)
1.  a knob, stud, or other circular rounded protuberance, esp an ornamental one on a vault, a ceiling, or a shield
2.  biology any of various protuberances or swellings in plants and animals
3.  a.  an area of increased thickness, usually cylindrical, that strengthens or provides room for a locating device on a shaft, hub of a wheel, etc
 b.  a similar projection around a hole in a casting or fabricated component
4.  an exposed rounded mass of igneous or metamorphic rock, esp the uppermost part of an underlying batholith
5.  to ornament with bosses; emboss
[C13: from Old French boce, from Vulgar Latin bottia (unattested); related to Italian bozza metal knob, swelling]

boss or bossy3 (bɒs)
n , pl bosses, bossies
a calf or cow
[C19: from dialect buss calf, perhaps ultimately from Latin bōs cow, ox]
bossy or bossy3
[C19: from dialect buss calf, perhaps ultimately from Latin bōs cow, ox]

BOSS (bɒs)
n acronym for
Bureau of State Security; a branch of the South African security police

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"overseer," 1640s, Amer.Eng., from Du. baas "a master," M.Du. baes, of obscure origin. If original sense was "uncle," perhaps it is related to O.H.G. basa "aunt," but some sources discount this theory. The Du. form baas is attested in English from 1620s as the standard title of a Dutch ship's captain.
The word's popularity in U.S. may reflect egalitarian avoidance of master as well as the need to distinguish slave from free labor. The verb is from 1856. The slang adjective meaning "excellent" is recorded in 1880s, revived, apparently independently, in teen and jazz slang in 1950s.

"protuberance, button," c.1300, from O.Fr. boce "a hump, swelling, tumor" (12c., Mod.Fr. bosse), from either Frank. *botija or V.L. *bottia, both of uncertain origin.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

boss (bôs)

  1. A circumscribed rounded swelling; a protuberance.

  2. The prominence of a kyphosis or humpback.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Computing Dictionary

BOSS definition

Bridgport Operating System Software. A derivative of the ISO 1054 numerical machine control language for milling, etc.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in medieval architecture, keystone used in vaulting to provide a junction for intersecting ribs and to cover the actual complex of mitred joints. In medieval England it was highly developed, but in France it was less developed because of the greater height of French naves. By the 13th century, decorative bosses with naturalistic carving were widely used in England (e.g., in the nave at Westminster Abbey, London, and at Ely Cathedral). In the 14th century, bosses comprising a series of narrative scenes appeared, and in the 15th century, fan vaulting was developed with long, pendantlike bosses

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Let's say a boss gives a task to two employees, one creative and one a
Rarely are employees celebrated for poking fun at the boss.
It's been interesting to learn how readers view the boss.
Most people spend a major chunk of their waking hours at work, where often the
  boss looms large.
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