General Question

SamandMax's avatar

Why "boo" and where the heck did it come from?

Asked by SamandMax (1698 points ) February 6th, 2013

As far as terms of endearment go, I have a real problem understanding why people would choose to call their significant other, “Boo”. I did have an SO some years ago who almost always called me that and it drove me up the wall.

My understanding of the word, “Boo”, is either something that is used in Scooby Doo cartoons, or the longer “Booooo” which is used to denote widespread disappointment towards, typically, a team in sports or a ref making a bad call.

I’m not great on terms of endearment, so can any of you spill the beans on this one? Is it short for something? Does it mean something? What? I don’t get it.

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15 Answers

burntbonez's avatar

Boo is a silly sound. I think people use silly sounds for terms of endearment. Once my pet name was “Booble.” Thankfully, that relationship only lasted a couple of years.

ninjacolin's avatar

From baby.

zenvelo's avatar

It’s a form of baby talk. And lovers often use a form of baby talk as endearments. I’m not too big on it myself, but have been known to use silly near baby talk.

It’s like Seinfeld Schmoopy

ninjacolin's avatar

Ha, I’m smarter than @zenvelo cause I said it first!

It’s the short version of “Baby-boo”

Seek's avatar

I thought it was derivative of “beau”.

That said, I’m glad no one calls me that. I do call my son “boo-boo”, but that’s just a shortened version of “Bobalouie”. And I have no idea how we got started calling him that.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

Being brought up in the North, I never heard it until I was an adult. I first heard it in New Orleans (which would lend credence to the French “beau” theory). My wife’s family has some roots in the Beaumont (TX) area, and I’ve noticed a lot of use of the term among her relatives in that branch.

bookish1's avatar

Good question. I’ve wondered this myself. I never encountered it before moving out of South Florida to the actual South (haha).
I like @Seek_Kolinahr‘s theory that it’s a borrowing of “beau.”
I think it sounds real childish, but I am not a fan of babytalk in general, for children or adults.

bhec10's avatar

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Booing

There’s a Wikipedia article for everything these days!

HolographicUniverse's avatar

boo is a term that is derived from the French word “beau” meaning beautiful. In 18th century England it meant an admirer, usually male. It made it’s way into Afro-Caribean language perhaps through the French colonisation of some Caribean islands.

zenvelo's avatar

@HolographicUniverse Do you have a link that shows that? Wikipedia shows cooing sounds as baby talk and often used between adults as a form of affection.

ucme's avatar

There’s an American golfer named Boo Weekly, sounds like a request at a Celine Dion concert.
I’ve no clue where the name derives, sounds like it must be short for something or other.

rojo's avatar

My daughter calls her little girl “Boo”. She got it from the cartoon movie “Monsters, Inc.” It was what the monsters called the little girl. In return, my grandaughter used to call her mom “Kitty”.

But I used to know a woman called Boo back in the 70’s. I often wondered where it came from.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

I had a friend from Lafayette, LA who went by “Boo”. In his case it was short for “Beaudreaux”.

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