1. An engraved stamp which is pressed onto a piece of paper or other material to leave an impression on it. Doing this is called embossing.
  2. A raised nail or stud on a shield or armor. A shield featuring bosses is, straightforwardly enough, a bossed shield.
  3. A chieftain, foreman, manager, or other leader of a group; a honcho. As a verb, to give orders; hence, to boss around.

The confluence of these divergent definitions gives rise to various wags pointing out that "a boss is an ornamental stud."
A piece of 1960s slang. "Boss" meant "most excellent", perhaps. Some boss sounds from the new 45 by Jefferson Airplane, man, right after this message from Pepsi; "boss" was one of those words that got assimilated into the mainstream a little too quickly.

Ford's revamped circa-1968 Mustang, bigger and beefier than the original, had the nickname "Boss Hoss". It was boss, though you might cringe at the man using such a word; on the other hand, if you were into cars, you probably weren't all too concerned that some Madison Avenue adman had appropriated one of your favorite superlatives.

Verve Records, after having signed a bunch of Boston bands, and with no idea as to what to do with them, dubbed the various musics they made "The Bosstown Sound". Not so boss.

The extremely nasty bad guy you have to fight at the end of a level in various genre of video games. Put there just to piss you off after having completed a very difficult level I guess. Some games have sub-bosses aswell half way through the levels, and almost all have a big nasty boss at the end of the game (sometimes several). R-Type has some of the coolest bosses in history, and Treasure can always be relied on to make some right nasty bosses (in fact, Alien Soldier is almost all bosses). Bosses are found in shoot 'em ups, platformers, beat 'em ups, and sometimes even puzzle games(!).

Sometimes called guardians.

Boss, an elevated or thickened portion, usually around an aperture, or a swage or stump used in shaping sheet metal. In Gothic architecture it is the protuberance in a vaulted ceiling formed by the junction of the ends of several ribs, and serving to bind them together.


Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

Boss (?), n.; pl. Bosses (#). [OE. boce, bose, boche, OF. boce, boche, bosse, F. bosse, of G. origin; cf. OHG. bozo tuft, bunch, OHG. bozan, MHG. bozen, to beat. See Beat, and cf. Botch a swelling.]

1.

Any protuberant part; a round, swelling part or body; a knoblike process; as, a boss of wood.

2.

A protuberant ornament on any work, either of different material from that of the work or of the same, as upon a buckler or bridle; a stud; a knob; the central projection of a shield. See Umbilicus.

3. Arch.

A projecting ornament placed at the intersection of the ribs of ceilings, whether vaulted or flat, and in other situations.

4. [Cf. D. bus box, Dan. bosse.]

A wooden vessel for the mortar used in tiling or masonry, hung by a hook from the laths, or from the rounds of a ladder.

Gwilt.

5. Mech. (a)

The enlarged part of a shaft, on which a wheel is keyed, or at the end, where it is coupled to another.

(b)

A swage or die used for shaping metals.

6.

A head or reservoir of water.

[Obs.]

 

© Webster 1913.


Boss (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Bossed (#); p. pr. & vb. n. Bossing.] [OE. bocen, fr. OF. bocier. See the preceding word.]

To ornament with bosses; to stud.

 

© Webster 1913.


Boss, n. [D. baas master.]

A master workman or superintendent; a director or manager; a political dictator.

[Slang, U. S.]

 

© Webster 1913.

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