Boss has two distinct meanings, and though one might seem to be able to draw a connection in between them—they both describe something that stands out amongst others—they have different etymological origins.

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The earlier, and less prevalent, meaning is “protuberance,” native a Latin indigenous of uncertain beginning by way of the Old French term boce, meaning “swelling.” the word usually involves the protruding central component that a shield, which helped the bearer ward off blows native an opponent. The obtained verb emboss and adjective embossed, formed by the attachment of a prefix definition “in” or “into,” ad to increased ornamentation or engraving in general.

Boss additionally refers come the hub that a propeller, a projecting rock block in a wall surface or various other architectural element, a comparable naturally developing feature in geology, or a pad provided in some crafty endeavors such together ceramics and also glassmaking.

Interestingly, bocle, a sport of the Old French precursor, is likewise the source of buckle, both a word referring to a ring of steel (or various other material) provided for fastening or the plot of fastening something come it and also a word an interpretation “bend the end of shape,” and also buckler, the surname of a small, ring shield (and the result term swashbuckler, referring to a literature genre involving accomplishments of derring-do; the ax is perhaps inspired by the photo of a buckler-wielding hero).

The dominant meaning of boss, the of “supervisor,” is native the dutch word baas, meaning “master” (and maybe originally definition “uncle”). The term was supplied to refer to the person in fee of a dutch ship. (In English, the technically exactly word is master, despite it has actually been largely supplanted through captain.) The adoption of the netherlands term right into English might be affected by the assimilation of Dutch colonies in phibìc America into the British swarms in the 1600s, with the attendant infiltration of dutch vocabulary into American English, yet it likewise may reflect an effort amongst Americans after the Revolutionary battle to distance themselves from a term offered by the English, and also later from one that servant owners expected their slaves to usage (though some slaves addressed their owner as “boss” as well).

Boss additionally entered the language as a slang adjective meaning “excellent.” This an initial occurred in the so late 1800s, but it returned to use in the 1950s and again in the 1970s, in comparable usage as a synonym because that cool.

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Another adjectival form is bossy, originally from the sense of “swelling” and an interpretation “projecting” or “decorated v bosses” yet subsequently assigned to the later on meaning, referring to someone who is domineering. And although the plodding, stubborn, mooing actions of cattle may be construed as being bossy, the word as an endearing ideal name because that a cow is unrelated; the term stems from the Latin word bos, an interpretation “cow,” from which beef and also bovine room derived.

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1 solution to “The Protruding and also Dominant meanings of “Boss””

Ashley Hooberon October 30, 2016 1:43 pm

I think I check out this morning that 35% of world in the us would forego a progressive in leu that their boss being fired. Have the right to you believe that? We must get far better at how we define “boss” and what their job entails.Cool post!