What Does Boo Mean? | The Word Counter (2024)

When someone hears a loud eerie “BOO” in the middle of the night, their first thought is usually to call the Ghostbusters — but have you ever wondered why ghosts say boo? Where did this three-letter word come from, and why is it synonymous with scary creatures?

What Does Boo Mean? | The Word Counter (1)

You have questions, and we have answers. Read on as we explore the word boo (buː/bu/bo͞o) to uncover its definition, origin, and more.

What Is the Definition of Boo?

According to the Collins Dictionary, someone might say “Boo!” loudly and suddenly when they want to surprise, startle, or frighten another individual who doesn’t know that they are there — hence why it’s often said by ghosts!

With this definition in mind, there’s no denying that the name Boo is quite fitting for the small spherically shaped ghost that’s only viable when your back is turned when playing Super Mario Party games.

That said, our word of the day is also a sound that people make to show when they don’t like or approve of something or someone. For example, you might say boo after someone makes an unfavorable announcement.

Additionally, our word of the day, boo, can be used as an interjection, noun, and even as a transitive and intransitive verb:

  • Interjection — a shout that is commonly used to express disgust, chiefly at events such as a political meeting, theatrical production, or sporting event
  • Intransitive Verb (word forms booing or booed) — this prolonged sound is used to express disapproval.
  • Noun (plural boos) — a shout used to express contempt, disapproval, or scorn.
  • Transitive Verb — to show disapproval by booing.

What Does Boo Mean as a Slang Word?

Boo can also be used as a slang term of endearment to reference your significant other. As in, “I went on a date with my boo” or “Me and my boo-thang are headed to the amusem*nt park today.”

Used as an affectionate term, boo is synonymous with another slang word, bae. The term bae is used primarily by the younger generation to reference the most important person in their life, putting them before anyone else.

What Is the Etymology of Boo?

Dating all the way back to 1630-1640 and first noted as an expressive formation, boo is a derivative of the French beau. A fun fact about the word history behind our word of the day is that as far back as 500 years ago, variations of the word boo (boh or bo just to name a few) have been found in various published works.

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Boo?

Now that you understand the many meanings behind our word of the day, let’s explore some synonyms and antonyms, shall we?


  • Scoff at
  • Hoot
  • Shout down
  • Trash talk
  • Shout at
  • Derision
  • Howl down
  • Jibe at
  • Bae
  • Pick on
  • Butt in
  • Make game of
  • Shout catcalls at
  • Give a hard time
  • Sneer at
  • Jeer at
  • Poke fun at
  • Holler
  • Howl
  • Raspberry
  • Mock
  • Shriek
  • Fleer at
  • Make light of
  • Decry
  • Poke mullock at
  • Scout at
  • Dig at
  • Make a fool of
  • Catcall
  • Hiss
  • Taunt
  • Razz
  • Show contempt
  • Take the mickey
  • Make sport of
  • Jeer
  • Heckle
  • Take the piss out of
  • Bite one’s thumb at
  • Bronx cheer
  • Wolf whistle
  • peek-a-boo
  • Shout of derision
  • Ridicule
  • Jibe
  • Bait
  • Significant other
  • Better half
  • Razzing
  • Other half
  • Torment
  • Rattle
  • Deride
  • Live-in lover
  • Plus one
  • Jeering
  • Trouble and strife
  • Soul mate
  • Next of kin


  • Big up
  • Acclaim
  • Clap
  • Approve
  • Laud
  • Cheer
  • Applaud
  • Give it up for
  • Compliment
  • Flatter
  • Exalt
  • Commend
  • Praise
  • Please
  • Comfort
  • Calm
  • Help
  • Soothe
  • Encourage
  • Arrange
  • Leave alone
  • Aid
  • Reassure
  • Applause
  • Encouragement
  • Adulation

How Can You Use Boo in a Sentence?

Ready to put your newfound knowledge to the test? Quiz yourself to see how many sentences you can conjure up with the correct usage of the word boo.

Not sure where to start? Here are some example sentences for you to review below:

After he missed the game-winning shot —with three teammates wide open, mind you — Todd was greeted with a chorus of boos from the stands. Honestly, he deserved every one of them after being such a ball hog the entire game.

Try as he might, there was no way Terrance could forget the boos he received last night after his abysmal performance in the theater.

Charlie got a boo-boo on her paw, and we had to carry her inside to take care of it.

Honestly, does the professor think we are a walking, talking thesaurus? How are we supposed to memorize all these idioms, collocations, antonyms, and synonyms of all our vocabulary words by tomorrow? I have barely begun to memorize everything about the first word on the list, boo.”

After hearing a loud boo coming from behind my TV, I am convinced that there is a poltergeist in my house.

What Are Translations of Boo?

Did you know that “boo” can be said in more ways than one? Here are some common translations:

  • British English — Boo
  • Brazilian Portuguese — vaiar
  • Chinese (simplified) — 发出嘘声以示不满
  • European Spanish — abuchear
  • French — huer
  • Arabic — بو
  • Bulgarian — дюдюкане
  • Finnish — buuata
  • Greek — μπου
  • French — huer
  • German — ausbuhen
  • Italian — fischiare
  • Japanese — ブーイングする
  • Korean — 야유하다
  • European Portuguese — vaiar
  • Spanish — abuchear
  • American English — Boo
  • Thai — โห่ไล่


Our word of the day can be used to express contempt, scorn, or disapproval, as well as to startle or frighten. Boo is also a slang word that is commonly used among teens as a term of endearment for a girlfriend or boyfriend.


What does boo mean? boo Definition. Meaning of boo. | OnlineSlangDictionary.com

Boo definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

BOO | definition | Cambridge English Dictionary

What Does Boo Mean? | The Word Counter (2)

Kevin Miller is a growth marketer with an extensive background in Search Engine Optimization, paid acquisition and email marketing. He is also an online editor and writer based out of Los Angeles, CA. He studied at Georgetown University, worked at Google and became infatuated with English Grammar and for years has been diving into the language, demystifying the do's and don'ts for all who share the same passion! He can be found online here.

What Does Boo Mean? | The Word Counter (2024)
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