bossy boots

  • Ecossaise

    Senior Member
    It's one of those phrases that seems to have come out of nowhere. The full text OED might give its earliest use. I am pretty sure I have met it in children's books written in the early 20th century.


    Senior Member
    English UK
    The OED entry for "bossy boots" cross-refers to the entry for "boots":

    3. In various comb. (humorous or colloq.) = ‘Fellow, person’: as clumsy-, lazy-boots; see also SLY-BOOTS, SMOOTH-BOOTS.
    1623 PERCIVALE Sp. Dict., Lisongero, a flatterer, a smooth boots. 1865 DICKENS Mut. Fr. IV. xi, You are the most creasing and tumbling Clumsy-Boots of a packer. 1832 LYTTON Eugene A. ii, ‘Why don't you rise, Mr. Lazyboots?’

    Evidently "boots" has been used humorously or colloquially for "person" since at least the 17th century!

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