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Monday, April 4, 2011

What does "boffo" even mean?

: boffo origin etymology

Why: Someone wrote on Corbett's wall:
Boffo box office to you guys tonight!!!
I guess I have heard that word before, but I don't really know what it's supposed to mean. It sounds like something a character in Bridget Jones's Diary would say.

Hang on. Lol:
Answer: "Extremely successful"! Or an uproarious laugh. Or a line in a play or film that gets an uproarious laugh. It can be an adjective or a noun.

Origins are unknown, but it is actually an Americanism that was first used in the entertainment trade magazine Variety in the 1940s. Theories:
  • It has something to do with blending the words "box office."
  • It comes from an alteration of either buffo, bouffe, or boffola.
  • It comes from a Yorkshire dialect, where "boff" meant "an alarm, a sudden shock"
  • In show-biz slang, a "boff" might have been a "hit"
Source:, Askville, White Souse, EtymOnline

The More You Know: A comic strip called "Mister Boffo" has been in syndication since 1986. I have never heard of it.
I also don't "get" it, I don't think.

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