Denotation vs. Connotation

Boy Scout

a member of an organization of boys (Boy Scouts) founded in England in 1908 by Lieut. Gen. Sir Robert S. S. Baden-Powell, that seeks to develop certain skills in its members, as well as character, self-reliance, and usefulness to others.
(lowercase) a member of any similar society elsewhere.
(lowercase) Sometimes Disparaging. a person whose deeds, obliging personality, idealism, etc., exceed normal expectations.
Origin of Boy Scout
Usage note
Use of boy scout to mean ‘someone who is obliging and idealistic’ usually implies that the person is naive or unworldly. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Boy Scout
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • After this I shall have only words of commendation for the Boy Scout movement.

  • Lincoln's life and career should be the study and inspiration of every Boy Scout.

    Boy Scouts Handbook Boy Scouts of America
  • The doctor responded by giving the Boy Scout salute as he stood a moment with raised hat.

  • He will come in a motor, and I expect a Boy Scout will be with him.

    Good Old Anna Marie Belloc Lowndes
  • When you are in the water, as every Boy Scout knows, every object afloat looks mountainous.

British Dictionary definitions for Boy Scout

boy scout

See Scout
(US & Canadian, informal) an apparently virtuous and innocent person
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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