Does name + "boss" mean something?

English Language & Usage Asked by Armen Ծիրունյան on October 6, 2020

One of my colleagues in Britain keeps addressing me as “Armen boss” in mails and skype.


Hi, Armen boss. Can you please verify…?

I am in no conceivable way his boss and our relationship is restricted to occasional work-related correspondence. Does this form of address mean anything in British English or is it an idiosyncrasy I will have to either silently accept or get the courage to ask him about directly? As far as I know, he’s a native speaker of British English.

6 Answers

Perhaps you colleague is using this...

baas noun
South Africa, from Afrikaans, from Dutch
: BOSS, MASTER —used especially by nonwhites when speaking to or about Europeans in positions of authority

Answered by GEdgar on October 6, 2020

It's in replacement of the words "man" "bro" "buddy" "pal" "friend" or just a casual way to address another man. Stems from a more slang use of the word boss instead of badass or similar word so has transitioned from a compliment to quite a casual every day name.

He simply means hello armen my friend or something similar.

Answered by Eoin Duggan on October 6, 2020

Semi-related as well is the use of "boss" as way to indicate mastery. As a low-hanging fruit, consider show "Cake Boss". It has nothing to do with literally being a manager of cakes (although I suppose the people in the show do that too after a fashion), but instead it means the 'stars' of Cake Boss have mastered the ins and outs of baking cakes.

Answered by Cary C on October 6, 2020

In the American South: Boss(term of endearment "mostly" but can be used to open an insulting statement.) = a big, large and or overweight man/boy.

Answered by user96718 on October 6, 2020

I am British and I sometimes call people "boss" in a very informal way, e.g. "Cheers, boss!" as an alternative to "Thanks, mate!" Thinking about situations where I would say that, it does tend to be with someone I don't know very well, like a shop employee, and most often when they have been useful or helpful. A typical conversation might be:

"Can you tell me where the baked beans are?"

"Certainly, they're on aisle 22, past the tinned tomatoes."

"Cheers, boss"

Hence, it would appear that there is a tiny amount of deference involved in how I use the word, plus I feel that it would make the person providing the information feel that I had treated him as an equal, rather than adopting a customer/server relationship.

I haven't come across anyone saying "#insert name# boss", but I can certainly imagine it happening in a jokey, light-hearted atmosphere.

Answered by Phil M Jones on October 6, 2020

The use of "boss" in addressing someone has fallen from use in the US. It is used when discussing one's supervisor/employer/business superior, "Jim is my boss." This is probably due, in large part, to the general use of first names in most business contexts.

I have heard the use of "boss" among people from India.

Answered by RSQ on October 6, 2020

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