AskDefine | Define boo

Dictionary Definition

boo n : a cry or noise made to express displeasure or contempt [syn: hoot, Bronx cheer, hiss, raspberry, razzing, snort, bird] v : show displeasure, as after a performance or speech [syn: hiss] [ant: applaud]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A loud exclamation intended to scare someone, especially a child. Usually used when one has been hidden from the victim and then suddenly appeared unexpectedly.
  2. A word used ironically in a situation where one might have scared someone, but said someone was not scared. Not said as loudly as in definition 1.
  3. A word used by someone who is inherently scary, such as a ghost or a vampire, to make a weaker person who is scared stiff flee. Usually used quietly, as with definition 2.
  4. An exclamation used by a member of an audience, as at a stage play or sports game, to indicate derision or disapproval of what has just occurred.



  1. A derisive shout (as interjection definition 4 above).
  2. Significant other. (Ex. John is my boo.)


derisive shout


  1. To shout extended boos derisively.
    When he took the podium, the crowd booed.
    • 2004, The New Yorker, 18 Oct 2004
      Nobody booed and nobody clapped
  2. To derisively shout extended boos at.
    The protesters loudly booed the visiting senator.


to shout boos derisively (intransitive)
to shout boos at (transitive)

Extensive Definition

Booing is the act of showing displeasure for someone or something, generally an entertainer, by loudly yelling "Boo" (and holding the "oo" sound) or making other noises of disparagement, such as animal noises. The sounds of donkeys, snakes, geese, cattle and cats are quite popular. The sound is often accompanied by one or two hands giving the thumbs down sign. If spectators particularly dislike the performance they may also accompany booing by throwing objects onstage, though the objects may not be meant to physically hurt the performer. Booing can also be expressed to startle someone.
Boo can also be a name for one's girlfriend or boyfriend.


  • On Maury, the audience will boo on some "bad" people that come to the stage.
  • On the game show The Price Is Right, the audience will boo contestants who do not spin the "big wheel" completely around in a single spin as required by the rules.
  • In sports, booing is quite common, both at players after poor play or referees/umpires after an unpopular ruling.
  • On the American variety show Showtime at the Apollo, the audiences are infamous for quickly showing their displeasure for bad performances, and are encouraged to do so by the hosts.
  • A villainous character may also be booed to show a dislike of said character, rather than the acting skills of the thespian portraying him or her. Melodrama performances may encourage it, along with cheering at the hero/heroine, and throwing popcorn at the stage in order to display empathy at said character.
  • Mexican fans sometimes boo by chanting, "Culero! Culero!" ("Asshole!" in Mexican Spanish).
  • In professional wrestling, the audience will usually boo the "bad guy".
  • In British pantomime, the audience will be expected to boo the villain of the piece as they make their entrance and exit, and to boo and hiss as he or she divulges their dastardly plans.
  • A "spin off" of sorts is the "blooing" of the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps whenever they take the field (this is commonly mistaken as booing).
  • After the Marquise de Meurteil is exposed for her deceit in the movie Dangerous Liaisons, the crowd at the opera unanimously booes her.
  • On the UK series of Big Brother, most housemates are booed on their evictions. However, in recent years most housemates are booed before they even enter the house. The crowd have sometimes been labelled as "chavs". It has also been noticed that young attractive females mostly receive negative receptions, while young attractive males almost always receive positive receptions.


Booing performers has a very long history, possibly to the days of ancient Greece, where audiences would boo and applaud bad and good performances, respectively. This practice has in recent times come under criticism: the opinion is often expressed that to boo a bad performance is unkind and demonstrates a lack of sophistication. However, the counterargument goes that the combination of booing and applause help keep the quality of public performance high, by emotionally rewarding the good and punishing the bad.
This debate is especially relevant to the opera world where passionate applause and rowdy booing have long been a part of the tradition. Recently in the United States, however, this practice has come under attack. As opera attendance has become viewed as an indulgence of the rich, the act of booing has fallen out of favor. Proponents of booing blame this trend for what they view as a general decline in the quality of modern American opera .
boo in Japanese: ブーイング
boo in Portuguese: Vaia
boo in Simple English: Booing

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Bronx cheer, Mary Jane, bird, booing, cannabis, catcall, give the bird, give the raspberry, grass, hiss, hissing, hoot, pooh, pooh-pooh, pot, raspberry, razz, tea, the bird, weed, whistle at
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