Green’s Dictionary of Slang

booby n.1

also boobie
[? Sp. bobo, a fool; phr. also puns on SE booby, a large, slow-flying bird]

1. [early 17C+] a fool, an idiot, a peasant.

2. [1990s+] an insane person.

In compounds

booby-hatch (n.)

see separate entry.

booby house (n.)

[late 19C–1940s] (US) a lunatic asylum.

booby-hutch (n.)

see separate entry.

booby wagon (n.)

[1920s–60s] (US) the vehicle in which arrested people are transported to the local police station or prison.

In phrases

beat the booby (v.)

[late 18C–early 19C] to beat one’s hands against one’s sides to get warm on a cold day.