Middle English Dictionary Entry

boie n.(1)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

A servant, attendant, underling, churl (applied to a cook's helper, butcher's boy, messenger, gate keeper, more often young than not); (b) used in addressing a servant or an underling; (c) addressed to a draft horse.
(a) A person of low birth or rank, a commoner; a foot soldier; also, a person lacking refinement, an ordinary fellow; (b) a fellow.
(a) A worthless or wicked fellow; rascal, ruffian, knave; urchin; ~ knave; also, jester, buffoon; (b) used derisively or contemptuously in addressing a person.
A male child; boy, youth [perhaps an affectionate use of the word in sense 3, for which cp. MnE rogue, rascal].
In names. [Some quots., esp. early ones, may contain the OE personal name Boia; see A. H. Smith PNElem. 1.40.]

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1500 Terms Assoc.(3) (Lamb 306)233 : A boye is beddid brawlynge.
  • Note: If 3.(a) or 4., postdates sense.