Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR BOYS

Was the gentleman” (he chose that word as he looked at the boys) “layman or clerk?

She had left these two boys, unwelcome appendages in his sight.

The boys possessed two uncles, one on each side of the house.

And that's why I'm outlastin' a lot of the boys and still gettin' my fun out of the game.

The boys will care for this raree-show more than thou or I, Tib!

Hear them swearing at this moment, boys of five, paddling in the water there!

But I was proposing--I wanted to deed that piece of marsh to you boys!

The Eton Society of Gladstone's day was a brilliant group of boys.

If the boys had not appeared we might now be weeping in a melancholy row.

He added: "You boys play a game; I'm going to break in Lanning to our job."

WORD ORIGIN

mid-13c., boie "servant, commoner, knave, boy," of unknown origin. Possibly from Old French embuie "one fettered," from Vulgar Latin *imboiare, from Latin boia "leg iron, yoke, leather collar," from Greek boeiai dorai "ox hides." (Words for "boy" double as "servant, attendant" across the Indo-European map -- e.g. Italian ragazzo, French garçon, Greek pais, Middle English knave, Old Church Slavonic otroku -- and often it is difficult to say which meaning came first.)

But it also appears to be identical with East Frisian boi "young gentleman," and perhaps with Dutch boef "knave," from Middle Dutch boeve, perhaps from Middle Low German buobe. This suggests a gradational relationship to babe. For a different conjecture:

Used slightingly of young men in Middle English; meaning "male negro slave or Asian personal servant of any age" attested from c.1600. Exclamation oh, boy attested from 1892.

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.