in their boots

boot

1 [boot]
noun
1.
a covering of leather, rubber, or the like, for the foot and all or part of the leg.
2.
Chiefly British. any shoe or outer foot covering reaching to the ankle.
3.
an overshoe, especially one of rubber or other waterproof material.
4.
an instrument of torture for the leg, consisting of a kind of vise extending from the knee to the ankle, tightened around the leg by means of screws.
5.
any sheathlike protective covering: a boot for a weak automobile tire.
6.
a protective covering for the foot and part of the leg of a horse.
7.
a protecting cover or apron for the driver's seat of an open vehicle.
8.
the receptacle or place into which the top of a convertible car fits when lowered.
9.
a cloth covering for this receptacle or place.
10.
British. the trunk of an automobile.
11.
a rubber covering for the connection between each spark-plug terminal and ignition cable in an automotive ignition system.
12.
Also called Denver boot. a metal device attached to the wheel of a parked car so that it cannot be driven away until a fine is paid or the owner reports to the police: used by police to catch scofflaws.
13.
U.S. Navy, Marines. a recruit.
14.
Music. the box that holds the reed in the reed pipe of an organ.
15.
a kick.
16.
Slang. a dismissal; discharge: They gave him the boot for coming in late.
17.
Informal. a sensation of pleasure or amusement: Watching that young skater win a gold medal gave me a real boot.
18.
Baseball. a fumble of a ball batted on the ground, usually to the infield.
19.
Computers. an act or instance of starting up a computer.
verb (used with object)
20.
to kick; drive by kicking: The boy booted a tin can down the street.
21.
Football. to kick.
22.
Baseball. to fumble (a ground ball).
23.
to put boots on; equip or provide with boots.
24.
Also, bootstrap. Computers.
a.
Also, boot up. to start (a computer) by loading and initializing the operating system.
b.
to start (a program) by loading the first few instructions, which will then bring in the rest.
25.
Slang. to dismiss; discharge: They booted him out of school for not studying.
26.
to attach a Denver boot to: Police will boot any car with unpaid fines.
27.
to torture with the boot.
Idioms
28.
bet your boots, to be sure or certain: You can bet your boots that I'll be there!
29.
die with one's boots on,
a.
to die while actively engaged in one's work, profession, etc.
b.
to die fighting, especially in battle, or in some worthy cause.
Also, especially British, die in one's boots.
30.
get a boot, Informal. to derive keen enjoyment: I really got a boot out of his ridiculous stories.

Origin:
1275–1325; Middle English bote < Anglo-French, Old French; of uncertain origin

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
boot1 (buːt)
 
n
1.  chukka boot top boot Wellington boots See also surgical boot a strong outer covering for the foot; shoe that extends above the ankle, often to the knee
2.  US and Canadian name: trunk an enclosed compartment of a car for holding luggage, etc, usually at the rear
3.  a protective covering over a mechanical device, such as a rubber sheath protecting a coupling joining two shafts
4.  (US), (Canadian) a rubber patch used to repair a puncture in a tyre
5.  an instrument of torture used to crush the foot and lower leg
6.  a protective covering for the lower leg of a horse
7.  a kick: he gave the door a boot
8.  slang (Brit) an ugly person (esp in the phrase old boot)
9.  slang (US) a navy or marine recruit, esp one in training
10.  computing short for bootstrap
11.  bet one's boots to be certain: you can bet your boots he'll come
12.  See boots and all
13.  die with one's boots on
 a.  to die while still active
 b.  to die in battle
14.  lick the boots of to be servile, obsequious, or flattering towards
15.  slang put the boot in
 a.  to kick a person, esp when he or she is already down
 b.  to harass someone or aggravate a problem
 c.  to finish off (something) with unnecessary brutality
16.  slang the boot dismissal from employment; the sack
17.  the boot is on the other foot, the boot is on the other leg the situation is or has now reversed
18.  too big for one's boots self-important or conceited
 
vb
19.  (tr) (esp in football) to kick
20.  (tr) to equip with boots
21.  informal (tr)
 a.  (often foll by out) to eject forcibly
 b.  to dismiss from employment
22.  Also boot up. to start up the operating system of (a computer) or (of a computer) to begin operating
 
[C14 bote, from Old French, of uncertain origin]

boot2 (buːt)
 
vb
1.  archaic to be of advantage or use to (a person): what boots it to complain?
 
n
2.  obsolete an advantage
3.  dialect something given in addition, esp to equalize an exchange: a ten pound boot to settle the bargain
4.  to boot as well; in addition: it's cold and musty, and damp to boot
 
[Old English bōt compensation; related to Old Norse bōt remedy, Gothic bōta, Old High German buoza improvement]

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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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

boot
"footwear," early 14c., from O.Fr. bote "boot" (12c.), with corresponding words in Prov. and Sp., of unknown origin, perhaps from a Gmc. source. Originally for riding boots only. The verb meaning "kick" is Amer.Eng. 1877; that of "eject" is from 1880.

boot
"profit, use," O.E. bot "help, relief, advantage; atonement," lit. "a making better," from P.Gmc. *boto (see better). Cf. Ger. Buße "penance, atonement," Goth. botha "advantage." Now mostly in phrase to boot (O.E. to bote).

boot
"start up a computer," 1975, from bootstrap (n.), 1953, "fixed sequence of instructions to load the operating system of a computer," on notion of the first-loaded program pulling itself, and the rest, up by the bootstraps.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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