Where Did the Term “Booby Trap” For an Explosive Device Come From and What Does the Name Mean?

The English word boob, meaning “stupid” or “dunce,” first appeared in 1599.

It comes from the Spanish word “bobo”, also meaning “stupid,” which came from the Latin balbus.

While a booby prize is awarded to the supreme loser, it was during the First World War that the nineteenth-century booby trap changed from being a harmless practical joke to its deadly modem wartime meaning of laying explosive traps for enemy soldiers.

The term “boob tube” refers to television, and is synonymous with “idiot box.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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