For many, boo is a way to show affection towards someone, whether it be to a boyfriend, girlfriend, or friend. However, the ones who believe it to be as such are mostly from the younger generation, mainly fourteen to nineteen year olds. According to the surveys, older generations believe boo to mean the verb form of it, meaning to boo a person. Those of the older generation who do know today’s meaning of the word has admitted to learning it from a younger person, such as a niece or granddaughter.
Boo came from the original form of ‘beau’, which originated in France and had a few different definitions. It was used as an adjective, noun, and verb. One of its noun definitions, “the attendant or suitor of a lady; a lover, a sweetheart’ is one of the closest to the definition in which we use it today. This form of the word started in 1777 and continued well into the late 1800’s, finally stopping around 1875. Another definition that closely fits the way it is used today is adjective definition, in which it is described as being “used in affection, friendship, or politeness, in addressing relations, friends, etc. (usually with their French titles).” Though most of the users of the word today do not have French titles, let alone use them, boo is still used to show affection, whether it would be to a boyfriend, girlfriend, or just a friend.
When I went on the Oxford English Dictionary to research boo, three different results came up-- two for nouns, and one for verb. I was surprised with the first definition I came across, a noun to be used instead of the word marijuana. “The story, sounding as if it originated with somebody full of Mexican boo smoke, came to prominence in The Independent American.” was found as a quotation. Apparently it was a United States slang term for marijuana from 1959 until 1985, when it then took on another meaning, to represent a girlfriend or boyfriend. Starting in 1988, this newest meaning of the word...