Green’s Dictionary of Slang

boob n.2

[abbr. booby n.1 (1)]

1. (orig. US, also boobist) a fool, an idiot.

[US]F. Hutchison Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 37: ‘Once a boob, always a boob, an’ that's no dopetown dream’.
[US]J. Lait ‘Annye’s Ma’ Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 271: That jerry to all trades, that blundering bonehead boob, the property man.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Bulldog Drummond 140: You fool [...] You poor, damned boob!
[US]T. Thursday ‘Score Another One for Barnum’ in Argosy All-Story 11 Sept. [Internet] And the biggest boobist of all is the gent who says he ain’t, never was, and never will be [a sucker].
[UK]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 8 Sept. 3/2: He’s so wide that if it were raining soup the poor boob would be running round with a fork.
[UK]‘Leslie Charteris’ Enter the Saint 34: I know you want more of me than my services in decoying boobs upstairs.
[US]W. Winchell On Broadway 22 Jan. [synd. col.] Anybody who lets a middleman sell the goods he puts out at $3.85 for 10 and 15 dollars more is a boob.
[US]E. O’Neill Iceman Cometh Act I: pearl: We nailed a coupla all-night guys. margie: On Sixth Avenoo. Boobs from de sticks.
[US]J. Thompson Alcoholics (1993) 5: He had made Doc look like a [...] boob.
[US]M. Braly Felony Tank (1962) 44: He was only some harmless boob.
[US]B. Moyers Listening to America 177: Man came along, the arrogant boob, and invented the idea of his importance in God’s eye.
[US]P. Highsmith Boy Who Followed Ripley (1981) 163: Lots of detectives are boobs [...] Boobs! – I love American slang.
[US]R. Price Clockers 501: Why are you trying to make a fucking boob out of me?
[US]F. Kellerman Stalker (2001) 307: Sure, let the whole world know I’m a total boob.
[US]T. Dorsey Atomic Lobster 100: That’s it [...] I’m done with you boobs.

2. (US) an inmate of a psychiatric institution.

[US]Bud Fisher ‘A. Mutt’ [comic strip] Old Mutt is in the booby hatch. He got a great welcome from the boobs.

3. (US tramp) an innocent, a potential victim of a thief.

[US]Wash. Times (DC) 10 Oct. 15/2: I held thw rubber pea in the crook of my finger while the whiskered boobs tried to guess which walnut shell it was under.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 33: Boob. – An uninitiated person or a thieves’ victim. In general use by Americans as a slang term ; the underworld, however, places an entirely fresh meaning on it, and with a scornful context quite apart from the original meaning.

4. an error, a blunder.

[UK]G. Fairlie Capt. Bulldog Drummond 144: They’re marvellous most of the time, but this was rather a boob.
[UK]My Guy 12 May n.p.: If you see someone making a boob on the box [KH].
[UK]Guardian Rev. 17 July 11: With so many dates flying around, a few boobs occur.

In derivatives

boobish (adj.)

stupid, foolish.

[US]D. Hammett ‘Assistant Murderer’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 159: Saying, in my boobish way, that I had been afraid she might do something reckless.
[US]A.J. Liebling Honest Rainmaker (1991) 119: The journalistic furor about Red Alexis [...] and the resulting gusher of boobish Tease [i.e. money].
[US]B. Hecht Gaily, Gaily 122: It was a boobish time, even my youth could note its nonsense.

In compounds

boob box (n.)

(US) a psychiatric institution.

[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 151: They in the boob box right now babbling.
boob play (n.) [play n. (2)]

a foolish action, an error, a blunder.

S. Ford Trying Out Torchy 322: Was it a boob play? Am I lettin’ myself in bad all round?
J.T. McIntyre Ashton-Kirk, Criminologist 282: I knew that to gun him would be a boob play.
Lefevre Reminscences of a Stock Operator (2004) 222/2: It was a boob play and he paid a big price. His ability, natural aptitude and vast experience didn’t help him.
P.B. Kyne Gringo Privateer 90: You heard me pull off a boob play.
boob trap (n.)

(US) a nightclub or similar place of entertainment where gullible customers are defrauded of their cash.

[US]S. Lewis Arrowsmith 291: I suppose this Rouncefield Clinic is probably nothing but a gilded boob-trap.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
boob tube (n.) [tube n.1 (9)]

1. (orig. US) television; thus boob tuber, one who watches television a lot.

[US]W.C. Anderson Penelope 110: Ah find that ah sho’ nuff can find out a lot about you humans by watchin yo’ boob tube.
M. French Women’s Room (1978) 115: I sit and watch the stupid boob tube.
[US]Newsweek 26 Oct. 3: No longer do you hear the term ‘videot’ or ‘boob tuber’.
[UK]K. Lette Llama Parlour 224: What’s on the old boob-tube?
[US]T. Fontana ‘A Game of Checkers’ Oz ser. 1 ep. 8 [TV script] he used to play the cello, till somebody smashed it. Now he sits in front of the boob tube all day.
[US]F. Kellerman Stalker (2001) 162: She parked herself in front of the TV and turned on the boob tube with the remote control.
[US]Mad mag. Jan. 37: Anna Nicole has forever redefined the term ‘boob tube’.

2. see also under boob n.3