Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bosh n.1

[Turk. bosh, empty, worthless. The term gained enormous popularity from the success of James Morier’s novel Ayesha (1834), a bestseller, esp. in the Standard Novels’ edition of 1846; NB ‘Sl. Terms & the Gypsy Tongue’ in Baily’s Mag. Nov. 1871 suggests pun on Rom. bosh, a fiddle and fiddledeedee n.]

nonsense, rubbish.

[J. Morier Ayesha I 219: This firman is bosh – nothing. [Ibid.] I 283: The parts [of the Koran] which are taken from the Christian Bible are divine; [the other parts] are spurious. They are bosh – nothing].
[US]Yale Literary Mag. XX 259: Spriggins’s peculiar forte is that kind of talk which some people irreverently called ‘bosh’.
[UK]‘Epistle from Joe Muggins’s Dog’ in Era (London) 14 Mar. 3/2: I dare say, you will think this is all ‘bosh’.
[UK]Thackeray Rebecca and Rowena in Burlesques (1903) 77: Rebecca knew in her heart that her ladyship’s proposition was what is called bosh [...] or fudge, in plain Saxon.
[UK]H. Kingsley Recollections of G. Hamlyn (1891) 18: ‘Bosh,’ said the Doctor. ‘All this about Hamlyn’s going out hare-hunting.’.
[UK]D. Cook Paul Foster’s Daughter I 298: Did you like the farce? [...] Great bosh, wasn’t it?
[Ire]Skibereen & West Carbery Eagle (Ireland) 18 Jan. 4/5: As for ‘respect to the ladies’, that’s all bosh.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Niggers’ in Punch 15 Mar. 113/2: My notion is, Niggers are Warmint [...] / And to talk of their rights and their wrongs is all bosh.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 8 Jan. 1/3: This commendation would be arrant bosh if it were not absolutely true – if he had left a real enemy behind him, or one that did not wish him well (in the twofold sense of the phrase).
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 24 Nov. 14/2: [John L.] Sullivan says the story about his giving up drinking for a year was all bosh.
[UK]Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 3 May 2/3: Don’t talk such bosh, / The colour let’s see of your tin.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) IV 770: Mrs. O*b***e [...] began to talk that sort of bosh that women do, who are funky of consequences.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The House of Fossils’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 177: He said, etcetera. But why repeat the senseless bosh agen.
[US]J. London People of the Abyss 270: It is sheer bosh and nonsense to preach thrift to the 1,800,000 London workers who are divided into families which have a total income of less than 21s. per week.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 4 Aug. 13/3: ‘Oh, that’s a lot o’ bosh! [...] I’ve bin familiar with pubs fer the last 30 years, and I ain’t got a scrap of contempt for ’em!’.
[NZ]Wanganui Chron. (N.Z.) 1 Feb. 2/3: Bosh - absolute bosh. Why Bob’s a darned sight worse than Sammy.
[US]Mencken letter 11 July in Riggio Dreiser-Mencken Letters II (1986) 352: Woodrow’s bosh will fetch the boobs in.
[US]C. Sandburg letter 3 Jan. in Mitgang (1968) 175: The stories of many niggers being killed and hidden are bosh.
[UK]A. Christie Secret of Chimneys (1956) 48: The part about the peace of Europe is all bosh.
[UK]F. Anthony ‘Gus Tomlins’ in Me And Gus (1977) 103: He said afterwards, he didn’t see me standing at the gate, but that’s all bosh.
[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 10 Dec. 11/1: Hugues Panassie, the French critic who thinks that racial hatred is so much bosh.
[Aus]K. Tennant Foveaux 223: ‘Moved that no action be taken,’ chanted one of the more crusted alderman and added under his breath ‘crackbrained bosh’.
[US]C. Himes ‘Lunching at the Ritzmore’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 17: This agitation about Negroes being discriminated against [...] and being refused service by hotels and restaurants is just so much bosh.
[UK]Willans & Searle Complete Molesworth (1985) 131: It is just all BOSH.
[UK]J.R. Ackerley We Think The World Of You (1971) 115: All this bosh about not upsetting people!
[UK]Observer Rev. 13 June 8: Bosh. But there is far more to Mike Hodges’s superbly structured revenge thriller.
[UK]Observer Mag. 11 June 15: Do a bosh job.