boys, the n.
1. (also boyz) one’s (male) social circle; one’s companions or ‘gang’.
|Life in London (1869) 236: Go not yet, for now’s the time, / The ‘boys’ are all bang-up and prime.|
|Phoenix (Sacramento) 22 Nov. 2/2: I saw all the ‘boys’, and distributed to them the papers and ‘you bet’, they were in great demand [DA].|
|Hoosier Mosaics 221: ‘By the way, who was that singing just now over in the saloon there?’ ‘Don’t know, didn’t hear ’em. Some of the boys, I s’pose.’.|
|Forty Years a Gambler 103: He had a big game one evening, and had downed quite a number of the boys, but he did it on the square.|
|Bird o’ Freedom 1 Jan. 2/3: She alludes to the male members of the company as ‘the boys’.|
|‘Jones’s Alley’ in Roderick (1972) 42: He had a great aversion to running in ‘the boys’.|
|Sun. Times (Perth) 6 Aug. 4/8: He was no puking Holy Joe / [...] / He was, in fact, one of the boys / Who loved life.|
|A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 21: Many of the boys are getting the rough stuff at home today on account of New Year’s pledges.|
|Dubliners (1956) 88: He knew where he would meet the boys: Leonard and O’Halloran and Nosey Flynn.‘Counterparts’|
|Bulldog Drummond 69: Wouldn’t it be better, Hugh, to whip up two or three of the boys and have a real scrap.|
|Gentlemen of the Broad Arrows 37: I reckon two hundred of the boys are game to take a chance.|
|Big Con 264: The boys will be here any minute.|
|letter in Charters (1993) 199: She was [...] making quite a stir among the boys.|
|Last Exit to Brooklyn (1966) 195: If I had a couple a bucks I could see somea the boys tanight and maybe we’d pick somethin up.|
|Carlito’s Way 3: I was kicking him on the ground when his boys arrived on bikes.|
|Bonfire of the Vanities 336: Well, I mean I’d heard about Angie and The Boys, but I didn’t believe it.|
|Campus Sl. Nov. 1: boyz – group of close male friends.|
|Vatican Bloodbath 25: It’s yer mammy, Billy, she’s giein line ups for aw’ the Bhoys at ten pee a shot.|
2. (orig. US) a criminal or violent gang, esp. the hangers-on of a corrupt politician.
|New South Wales II 202: The buoyant spirits of ‘the boys’ were knocked under for a time by these mishaps.|
|Paul Clifford I 220: Whatever the noise as is made by the boys / At the bar as they lush away, / The devil a noise my peace alloys / As long as the rascals pay!|
|Bushrangers 135: [of bushrangers] ‘You can’t go there now [...] It’s thirty miles from here, and the boys is all along the road [...] and it’s rough treatment they’d give you.’.|
|Tunkhannock Republican (PA) 6 May 3/4: ‘Little Africa’ was shaken to its very centre [...] on the occasion of a grand dance at the house of Chauncey Wright. The ‘boys’ did not behave very well.|
|Cincinnati Enquirer 13 June 4/2: There are intimations by cable that Arabi Pasha has been practicing what would be called among the ‘boys’ in America ‘monkey business’; that he has been pretending to be thrashed when he wasn’t [...].|
|Houndsditch Day by Day 16: Dick Diggins was ‘one of the boys’ and feared nothing in the world.|
|Dock Rats of N.Y. (2006) 17: How was it the boys chanced to ‘drop’ to him?|
|Three Elephant Power 61: The boys listened with a bored air and reckoned that [...] the priest would have learnt that they were well able to look after themselves.‘The Downfall of Mulligan’s’ in|
|Human Side of Crook and Convict Life 16: The Australian ‘boys’ had to get rid of him because he talked too much when drunk.|
|Enter the Saint 11: He was leader of a particularly tough race-course gang, generally known as ‘The Snake’s Boys’.|
|Men of the Und. 136: I explained it to the boys.‘I Was King of the Safecrackers’ in Hamilton|
|Corruption City 18: Nemo was here by three with a couple of the boys.|
|Return of the Hood 83: I heard noises like that from the boys. Moe tried to tell me and so did Carl Hoover.|
|Of Minnie the Moocher and Me 98: Texas went on a road tour and the ‘boys’ never allowed her to return.|
|Fixx 84: The vulgar lout who had criticised his colour co-ordination needed a new face after the boys had finished with him.|
3. (US) the police.
|Bulletin (Sydney) 29 May 5/2: Mr. A. D. Douglas [...] is an inspector of native police[...] He [is] adored by ‘ the boys’ — as the native troopers, who are mostly Wide Bay blacks, are known.|
|World of Graft 62: The spotter must have sized me up to be ‘one of the boys’. [...] It is my misfortune to be sometimes taken by the Upper World for a detective.|
|Continental Op (1975) 13: I’ll have a couple of the boys out calling on all the typewriter shops [...] to see if they can get a line on this one.‘The Tenth Clew’ in|
|Green Ice (1988) 17: That was the trouble – the boys would get five – when they needed four.|
|High Window 155: If I went down to headquarters and told the boys everything you have told me, they would laugh in my face. And I would be laughing with them.|
|Little Men, Big World 94: Due to a newspaper story in the Examiner the boys have got Rudy down at headquarters sweating him over Leon’s disappearance.|
|Blind Man with a Pistol (1971) 112: Did the boys downtown make him?|
|He Died with His Eyes Open 32: One word from me to the boys over at Lewisham and bang goes your license.|
|Homeboy 98: It takes a lot of pictures to pay off attorneys and grease the boys downtown.|
4. criminals in general, esp. the thieves and swindlers who frequented race-courses or dog-tracks.
|Pitcher in Paradise 172: It enjoys a doubtful sort of immortality as one of the very hottest stamping grounds of ‘the boys’ [...] many of whom ‘worked’ the meeting.|
|Gilt Kid 277: They were just the sort of people who got the boys a bad name and started people chucking off hot air about the ‘lower criminal classes’.|
|Phenomena in Crime 14: It caused him no concern to be seen in an hostelry favoured by the ‘boys’.|
|Carlito’s Way 17: Up there [i.e. prison] I meet a lot of the boys.|
5. the employees or hangers-on of a particular world, e.g. advertising or boxing.
|Hand-made Fables 83: There are favoured spots within the Republic at which being known by the Boys behind the Desk is the very Essence of Fame.|
|Put on the Spot 43: The boys had called their city editors.|
|Harder They Fall (1971) 85: If you want to see how the boys handle this one, stick around until everybody has left the joint.|
|Complete Guide to Gambling 674: The Boys – inveterate gamblers.|
|Stormy Weather 213: Greedy cocksucking hypocrites, and you may quote me to the boys in New York.|
6. (Irish) Republican revolutionaries, esp. when fleeing capture.
|Informer (1958) 153: Not that I didn’t do me bit to help the boys, God bless 'em, but ’tisn’t the boys that done the fightin’ that get the jobs .|
|Remembering How We Stood 136: The old days when the Black and Tan war was at its fiercest, some of the ‘boys’ on the run were given refuge in the house of a Mrs Clougherty .|
|Emerald Square n.p.: [...] ‘’an’ the Boys must think we live on fresh air.’ The ‘boys’ referred to were the Shinners.|
7. as the –– boys, individuals conforming to a specific job description, e.g. the software boys, the public relations boys.
|Red Wind (1946) 107: You know how the law boys love my sort.‘Blackmailers Don’t Shoot’ in|
|Phenomena in Crime 62: The press ‘boys’ came along at the double.|
|Little Sister 180: They’ll [...] line them up for the camera boys after they pull the raid.|
|Long Good-Bye 227: As Ohls and I went in Sheriff Petersen was standing behind his desk and the camera boys were filing out by another door.|
|Playback 107: If you had taken an overdose, the homicide boys would be told.|
|Syndicate (1998) 58: I had to be on my tippy-toes, now that the state boys were after me.|
|Crust on its Uppers 25: Pressure from [...] the income tax boys.|
|Carlito’s Way 92: You think they can’t put the junk boys out of business?|
|Scholar 3: Your pub’ll get a visit from the Vice boys.|
|Shame the Devil 132: Hey, the federal boys were surveiling it for months.|
8. (UK/W.I.) the immigrant West Indian community.
|Lonely Londoners 8: This was a time, when any corner you turn, is ten to one you bound to bounce up a spade. In fact, the boys all over London.|
|Absolute Beginners 15: Suzette [...] enjoys the life, and naturally is very popular among the boys.|
9. the US Mafia.
|USA Confidential 19: The boys suddenly fell in love with petroleum and are funneling great sums into Texas.|
|Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) 74: It’s a goddamned front for the boys. They all get reportable income from Arliss and none of them work there.|
10. (US campus) the male homosexual community.
|Gay Detective (2003) 39: A raid on an after-hours drinking joint that caters almost exclusively to the boys.|
|CUSS 87: Boys, one of the An effeminate male.et al.|
|Queens’ Vernacular 36: the boys a homosexual group; the subculture of the male homosexual.|