What's the "een" in Halloween?
"overseer," 1640s, American English, from Dutch baas "a master," Middle Dutch baes, of obscure origin. If original sense was "uncle," perhaps it is related to Old High German basa "aunt," but some sources discount this theory. The Dutch 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 (n.) as well as the need to distinguish slave from free labor. The slang adjective meaning "excellent" is recorded in 1880s, revived, apparently independently, in teen and jazz slang in 1950s.
"protuberance, button," c.1300, from Old French boce "a hump, swelling, tumor" (12c., Modern French bosse), from either Frankish *botija or Vulgar Latin *bottia, both of uncertain origin.
1856, from boss (n.1). Related: Bossed; bossing.
A circumscribed rounded swelling; a protuberance.
The prominence of a kyphosis or humpback.
Excellent; wonderful; the MOST •This old use seems to have been revived independently by 1950s jazz musicians and teenagers: Aw, this is boss/ Japan has leaped into the implements-for-bosser-living gap (1880s+)noun
: That little guy bosses the whole operation (1850s+)Related Terms
[fr Dutch baas, ''master'']
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