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[shoh-boht] /ˈʃoʊˌboʊt/
noun, Also, showboater (for defs 2, 3).
a boat, especially a paddle-wheel steamer, used as a traveling theater.
Informal. show-off (def 1).
a person, especially an athlete, who performs in an ostentatiously sensational manner calculated to draw attention; show-off.
verb (used without object)
to perform or behave in an outrageous or spectacular manner.
1865-70, Americanism; show + boat Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for showboat
  • He defies gravity with his jumping-jack flashes, but does not showboat.
  • River steamboats and showboat anchored at the levee.
  • showboat patrons were not partial to sophisticated entertainment.
British Dictionary definitions for showboat


a paddle-wheel river steamer with a theatre and a repertory company
(intransitive) to perform or behave in a showy and flamboyant way
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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Word Origin and History for showboat

also show-boat, 1838, "river boat on which theatrical performances are given," from show (n.) + boat (n.). The verb meaning "to show off" is attested from 1951.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for showboat



An elaborate display, usually for selling or other persuasion; dog and pony act: There just hasn't been time to arrange the kind of show-and-tell that attracts media attention/ No one seems to have been impressed by the show-and-tell

[1970s+; fr the name of an elementary-school teaching technique of the late 1940s where pupils exhibit and explain things]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Encyclopedia Article for showboat

floating theatre that tied up at towns along the waterways of the southern and midwestern United States, especially along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, to bring culture and entertainment to the inhabitants of river frontiers. The earliest of these entertainment boats were family-owned ventures into regions where theatres had not gone.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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