boy n also b'y [phonetics unavailable]. OED ~ sb1 2 b,
5, EDD sb 1 Ir Co for sense 2.
1 In the British
fishery in Newfoundland, an inexperienced man on his first voyage; cp FRESH 1, GREEN MAN;
 1792 CARTWRIGHT iii, 90 Mr Collingham took two
of the boys with him in the punt, and visited the traps and ships by this harbour.
[1831-39] 1926 AUDUBON 236 1 have known instances of men, who, on their first voyage,
ranked as 'boys,' and in ten years after were in independent circumstances, although they
still continued to resort to the fishing. 1878 TOCQUE 293 Boatmasters, or principal men,
are paid about £10 as wages, an ordinary fisherman £7, and boys £3 less.
2 A male of any age; a freq term of address; a marker of
informality or intimacy.
1863 MORETON 9 The 'boys' in a
fisherman's household are all the males, of whatever age, except the father or master.
1887 Telegram Christmas No 9 'I'm a younger man than you, an' ought to take the
risk.' 'No, boy,' replied Uncle Joe. 'God Almighty let me hear its cry, poor little
thing. . .' 'All right, Uncle Joe?' 'Yes, boy,' he said, cheerily. Have you got the child
with you?' 'Yes, boy, thank God,' he answered. 1896 J A Folklore ix, 31 From
[Ireland] also came ... the use of the term boys in addressing men. . . In Newfoundland
it is universal. 1905 WALLACE 171 'B'y' was a word we had picked up from the Newfoundland
fishermen, who habitually use it in addressing one another, be the person addressed old
or young. 1936 DEVINE 82 The late Mr John McCarthy ... rallied the Wexford boys to his
support [and] won the hard political battle. The Wexford vote was very strong in the West
End. T 191-65 'If he shows there again, you put a billet o' wood at un.' An' certainly
buddy said, 'There he is again.' 'Well boy,' he said, 'let go!' And he hove the junk o'
wood an' he beat out glass, sash an' all! 1969 Christmas Mumming in Nfld 68 Males
call each other 'my dear,' 'boy,' 'my son.' 1971 CASEY 168 "The Battle in Sandy Cove":
Joey was no coward, but he was no Irish boy, / It was his full intention big John
[Smithers] to destroy, / So with a nail drove in a stick he struck with all his might, /
It was considered foul by all so Joey lost the fight. 1975 BUTLER 31 He come aboard and
he said, 'Sell me this one.' I said 'Yes, boy, I'll sell her to ya.' 1977 Inuit Land
Use 213 If you had to go in your own area for hunting now, boy, it would take a lot