Word Of The Week: ‘Boots’

 

Do you feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the rapid expansion of the English lexicon? You’re not alone. A lethal combination of celebrity culture and twitter has given rise to a host of new and at times seemingly unintelligible words. As such, we shall be taking an in-depth look at one word each week, exploring its etymology, meaning and significance in pop culture and beyond. It’ll be just like learning your ABCs again. Welcome to Word of the Week.


‘Boots’
[Boots]
Noun.
1.    Slang. A term most used as a suffix to add emphasis or hyperbole.
   
Before we get on to our analysis of Boots we need to explore the circumstance and context that laid the foundations for the rise of this particular word. So, it seems to us that in the world of the talent show (also known as the ‘how marketable is this man/woman/child’ contest), 2nd best in the new best. One Direction, are a prime example of this. Do you remember Chico? Well, how could anyone forget Chico time? But what about the guy who won X Factor that year? And what about Jedward? Any idea who actually won that series? Remember the 2012 winner James Arthur? Nope, neither do we. 

The father of Boots is Todrick Hall – another star born out of the ‘almost’ category, having come second in the ninth series of American Idol. Nevertheless, he is a self-made multi-millionaire, and living proof of the power of YouTube. He has millions of subscribers on his channel and is one of the most prolific actor / director / choreographer / YouTuber in the States. However, this is not a biography, and we are here to focus on one particular phrase used by Mr. Hall.  

Boots is simply used in order to emphasise any given verb or adjective. For example, ‘It’s Christmas and I’m excited boots’. Or, ‘Nacho cheese is the best boots.’ As far as we can tell, it’s utterly inexplicable. We have conducted a minor survey, talking to people from a variety of backgrounds, with different lexicon and diction. Some of those questioned had heard of boots, some had never heard of it, and some had even used it. The first two groups mentioned said they didn’t understand it, while the final category (of which they were only two people) thought it meant something else entirely. 

What makes Boots extraordinary is that it defies the laws of elementary grammar. Everyone from your 4 and a half year old nephew to your 81 year old senile great aunt is aware that boots is a noun. To be absolute sure, we checked the ultimate source of knowledge, the Holy Grail, the Domesday Book if you will– The Oxford English Dictionary. This is what we found under the word ‘Boot’: a sturdy item of footwear covering the foot, the ankle, and sometimes the leg below the knee.

So, it seems what Todrick has achieved is nothing short of a miracle. Or on a much more cynical note, it’s a reflection on the quality of English teaching in the Western world. Even Donald ‘I refer to myself in the third person’ Trump may have to consider getting a political advisor when it comes to education. Here at WOTW we remain confused(boots).