- a covering of leather, rubber, or the like, for the foot and all or part of the leg.
- Chiefly British. any shoe or outer foot covering reaching to the ankle.
- an overshoe, especially one of rubber or other waterproof material.
- 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.
- any sheathlike protective covering: a boot for a weak automobile tire.
- a protective covering for the foot and part of the leg of a horse.
- a protecting cover or apron for the driver’s seat of an open vehicle.
- the receptacle or place into which the top of a convertible car fits when lowered.
- a cloth covering for this receptacle or place.
- British. the trunk of an automobile.
- a rubber covering for the connection between each spark-plug terminal and ignition cable in an automotive ignition system.
- 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.
- U.S. Navy, Marines. a recruit.
- Music. the box that holds the reed in the reed pipe of an organ.
- a kick.
- Slang. a dismissal; discharge: They gave him the boot for coming in late.
- Informal. a sensation of pleasure or amusement: Watching that young skater win a gold medal gave me a real boot.
- Baseball. a fumble of a ball batted on the ground, usually to the infield.
- Computers. an act or instance of starting up a computer or program.
verb (used with object)
- to kick; drive by kicking: The boy booted a tin can down the street.
- Football. to kick.
- Baseball. to fumble (a ground ball).
- to put boots on; equip or provide with boots.
- to start (a computer) by loading and initializing the operating system (often followed by up).
- to start (a program) by loading the first few instructions, which will then bring in the rest (often followed by up).
- Slang. to dismiss; discharge: They booted him out of school for not studying.
- to attach a Denver boot to: Police will boot any car with unpaid fines.
- to torture with the boot.
verb (used without object)
- Computers. to start a computer or program, or be started in this way (often followed by up): My laptop won’t boot and shows a blank screen.
- bet your boots, to be sure or certain: You can bet your boots that I’ll be there!
- die with one’s boots on,
- to die while actively engaged in one’s work, profession, etc.
- to die fighting, especially in battle, or in some worthy cause.
Also especially British, die in one’s boots.
- get a boot, Informal. to derive keen enjoyment: I really got a boot out of his ridiculous stories.
- a strong outer covering for the foot; shoe that extends above the ankle, often to the kneeSee also chukka boot, top boot, Wellington boots, surgical boot
- an enclosed compartment of a car for holding luggage, etc, usually at the rearUS and Canadian name: trunk
- a protective covering over a mechanical device, such as a rubber sheath protecting a coupling joining two shafts
- US and Canadian a rubber patch used to repair a puncture in a tyre
- an instrument of torture used to crush the foot and lower leg
- a protective covering for the lower leg of a horse
- a kickhe gave the door a boot
- British slang an ugly person (esp in the phrase old boot)
- US slang a navy or marine recruit, esp one in training
- computing short for bootstrap (def. 4a)
- bet one’s boots to be certainyou can bet your boots he’ll come
- See boots and all
- die with one’s boots on
- to die while still active
- to die in battle
- lick the boots of to be servile, obsequious, or flattering towards
- put the boot in slang
- to kick a person, esp when he or she is already down
- to harass someone or aggravate a problem
- to finish off (something) with unnecessary brutality
- the boot slang dismissal from employment; the sack
- the boot is on the other foot or the boot is on the other leg the situation is or has now reversed
- too big for one’s boots self-important or conceited
- (tr) (esp in football) to kick
- (tr) to equip with boots
- (tr) informal
- (often foll by out)to eject forcibly
- to dismiss from employment
- Also: boot up to start up the operating system of (a computer) or (of a computer) to begin operating
verb (usually impersonal)
- archaic to be of advantage or use to (a person)what boots it to complain?
- obsolete an advantage
- dialect something given in addition, esp to equalize an exchangea ten pound boot to settle the bargain
- to boot as well; in additionit’s cold and musty, and damp to boot
footwear, early 14c., from Old French bote “boot” (12c.), with corresponding words in Provençal and Spanish, of unknown origin, perhaps from a Germanic source. Originally for riding boots only. An old Dorsetshire word for “half-boots” was skilty-boots [Halliwell, Wright].
“profit, use,” Old English bot “help, relief, advantage; atonement,” literally “a making better,” from Proto-Germanic *boto (see better (adj.)). Cf. German Buße “penance, atonement,” Gothic botha “advantage.” Now mostly in phrase to boot (Old English to bote).
“start up a computer,” 1975, from bootstrap (v.), a 1958 derived verb from bootstrap (n.) in the computer sense.
“to kick,” 1877, American English, from boot (n.1). Generalized sense of “eject, kick out” is from 1880. Related: Booted; booting.
Also, die in harness. Expire while working, keep working to the end, as in He’ll never retire—he’ll die with his boots on, or She knows she’ll never get promoted, but she wants to die in harness. Both phrases probably allude to soldiers who died on active duty. Until the early 1600s the noun boot denoted a piece of armor for the legs, which may have given rise to this usage; and Shakespeare used harness in the sense of armor when he wrote: “At least we’ll die with harness on our back” (Macbeth 5:5).
In addition to the idioms beginning with boot
- boot out
- boot up
- die with one’s boots on
- get the ax (boot)
- kick (boot) out
- lick someone’s boots
- pull oneself up (by the bootstraps)
- quake in one’s boots
- to boot
- too big for one’s breeches (boots)
- you can bet your ass (boots)
Also see undershoe.