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The Boss

Old 27th Sep 2019, 09:58
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The Boss

Does anyone know where/when the practice of calling an RAF Squadron Commander 'The Boss' originated?
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Old 27th Sep 2019, 11:24
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I'd hazard a guess it was 1 April, 1918.
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Old 27th Sep 2019, 11:41
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Err, so what is he/she then?

Interesting first post
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Old 27th Sep 2019, 14:47
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I first heard it used in the early 80s by the Hereford Gun Club, probably migrated from there.
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Old 27th Sep 2019, 15:56
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In Dizzy Allen's book he says that a book called 'No Orchids for Miss Blandish' was very popular amongst the pilots on his squadron. The book was about gangsters and set in New York during Prohibition. The pilots though this a jolly wheeze and decided to copy the language. A newspaper journalist happened to be around and heard this. He thought it 'jolly good for morale' and published the story.

It may or may not be true: although I guess it's as good a reason as any.....
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Old 27th Sep 2019, 17:13
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Springsteen?

CG
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Old 27th Sep 2019, 19:19
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boss bɒs
noun
....an embellished knob

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Old 27th Sep 2019, 19:40
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Cant talk to you about "Embellish"!
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Old 27th Sep 2019, 19:42
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I remember my father telling stories relating to a Squadron Commander being referred to as Boss after the first time he was seen on a day and initially addressed as Sir (Fleet Air Arm).

Not sure we will ever get to the bottom of this one.

TN.
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Old 28th Sep 2019, 05:54
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USAAF influence WWII? "overseer, one who employs or oversees workers," 1640s, American English, from Dutch baas "a master," Middle Dutch baes, of obscure origin. If original sense was "uncle," perhaps it is related to Old High German basa "aunt," but some sources discount this theory.


The Dutch form baas is attested in English from 1620s as the standard title of a Dutch ship's captain. The word's popularity in U.S. may reflect egalitarian avoidance of master (n.) as well as the need to distinguish slave from free labor.

AMERICANISMS; The English of the New World", M. Schele De Vere, LLD
Of all Dutch words familiar to our ear, none has acquired a wider circulation and a stronger hold on our social system than the term boss, derived from the Dutch baas. It had, originally, with us as in its native land, the primitive meaning of “ master,” overseer, or superior of any kind, and retains it to this day in a large measure. Even now a boss shoemaker, or a boss bricklayer means the head of a gang of workmen, who deals their work out to them, and pays their wages, as an English master does to his workmen and apprentices. In this sense it is, even in England, now the cant term, if nothing more, with all mechanics, and can boast high antiquity for such a meaning, since as early as 1679, M. Philipse wrote: “Here they had their first interview with the female boss or supercargo of the vessel,” (Early Voyage to New Netherlands). strangely foreshadowing the “Advanced Female" of the New World. For the proud Yankee, from the beginning. disliked calling any man his master, a word which, as long as slavery existed, he thought none but a slave should employ; and as the relation between employer and employed required a. word, the use of boss instead of master, was either coined or discovered. Thus the word became early a part of the language in Northern and Western States, and Lord Carlisle could enjoy the naive question propounded to him by his stage-driver: “I suppose the Queen is your boss, now ?” In the same sense the slang loving New York Herald said, in speaking of the Pope: “Rothschild. refused to let him have any (money). The fact is, Rothschild is the pope and boss of all Europe.” It is curious that the word has actually found its way into French also, although only as a cant term; for M. Francisque Michel, in his Dictionnaire d' Argot, has : Beausse, un riche bourgeois, terme des voleurs Flamands. It made its way Southward, in America, but very slowly, and reached Pennsylvania only about 1852, with the construction of railways and canals. Since the emancipation of slaves in the South, the negroes also have become too proud to continue their old mode of address, and substitute for it the Northern boss, so that the word may fairly be said to be in universal use all over the Union. It has even been turned into a verb, and to boss is quite a common expression, meaning to direct anything, from bossing a job, that is, to contract and superintend it, to bossing the house, which means in the case of the husband or the wife, as Providence may direct, to rule and manage it. So familiar has the word become, that we are told of a child not five years old put into a corner for quarrelling, who wished to charge his sister with being the aggressor, and said: “ I did not boss the job, it was sister.” ( S. S. Haldeman.) Thus the Dutchman is master in the land after all.
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Old 28th Sep 2019, 06:44
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Baas

Still in use today among the farming community of the Cape Province of South Africa. The coloured labourers on the wine and fruit farms referred to the farm manager or owner as "Baas" in a sign of respect. Since the Dutch East India Company founded the original provisioning station there in the 1600's to revictual Sailing ships travelling to between Europe and the East. . The term has continued in general use to this day, and has travelled across the rest of Southern Africa and elsewhere.
Etymology[edit]

From Middle Dutch baes (“master of a household, friend”), from Old Dutch *baso (“uncle, kinsman”), from Proto-Germanic *basw˘. Cognates include Middle Low German bās (“supervisor, foreman”), Old Frisian bas (“master”); possibly also Old High German basa ("father's sister, cousin"; > German Base (“aunt, cousin”)).
IG

Last edited by Imagegear; 6th Oct 2019 at 08:14.
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Old 28th Sep 2019, 07:36
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OP:-
Does anyone know where/when the practice of calling an RAF Squadron Commander 'The Boss' originated?
Whenever it originated it was when Squadron/Unit Commanders of the Royal Air Force had real powers of command. It was certainly so in my time (60's) and as has been already said may well date back to the very origins of the Service. I would humbly suggest that continual use of the term today is simply traditional, such powers having been greatly reduced these days.
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Old 28th Sep 2019, 07:43
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First time I heard a squadron CO being called 'Boss' was in Oct' 68, when with a pilot colleague from 48 Sqn ( Hercs' ) I attended the Tengah Open Day. We were in the 74 Sqn crew room when the CO walked in having just flown the solo Lightning display. 'Great display Boss' shouted Fg Off Dave Roome amongst others. Blimey I thought - our Sqn Cdrs in the transport world are called Sir. I can't recall ever hearing the Boss word used on the Herc' fleet until the time I left at the end of '73.
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Old 28th Sep 2019, 08:32
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Imagegear. Thank you.

So....How how long before the Meejah agenda benders define the term 'Boss' as racist?

Askin for a friend.

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Old 28th Sep 2019, 13:31
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Squipper, for your friend

The usual "Meejah agenda benders" have frequently "expounded" over many common use terms. But in this case, polite, reasonable and appropriate respect by the people of the Cape for their "baas" who ultimately and consistently puts bread on their table, is instilled from birth. Consequently most remain ambivalent when the "Meejah agenda benders" get revved up and see them for what they are, empty vessels who do not represent real politik.

Labourers on wine farms are being enfranchised into the business through the medium of shared ownership with the "baas". Incentivising them and providing growth and security for everyone involved.

IG
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Old 28th Sep 2019, 14:39
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In my world "Boss" is generally used by those who have spent time in one of HM's guesthouses.
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Old 28th Sep 2019, 16:52
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oldmansquipper,

"Askin for a friend"

Let me fix that for you.

"Askin to satisfy my agenda"

There you go.
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Old 28th Sep 2019, 17:02
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Originally Posted by Imagegear View Post
Squipper, for your friend

The usual "Meejah agenda benders" have frequently "expounded" over many common use terms. But in this case, polite, reasonable and appropriate respect by the people of the Cape for their "baas" who ultimately and consistently puts bread on their table, is instilled from birth. Consequently most remain ambivalent when the "Meejah agenda benders" get revved up and see them for what they are, empty vessels who do not represent real politik.

Labourers on wine farms are being enfranchised into the business through the medium of shared ownership with the "baas". Incentivising them and providing growth and security for everyone involved.

IG
So it's really a case of cultural misappropriation?
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Old 28th Sep 2019, 17:25
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Still used by the medics, junior docs on the surgical team which so effectively re-arranged my plumbing referring to Mr. J as The Boss (when he wasn't around). I think it's used by some police forces as well?
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Old 28th Sep 2019, 17:53
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I had a sqn boss who, one Monday morning, looked quite agitated after I’d asked him how his weekend was. I enquired of him ‘Boss, are you alright?’ He then proceeded to tell me that ‘everyone calls me boss and I find it very disrespectful’. My response was to say ‘right you are sir, I’ll let the others know’. They were, understandably quite taken aback.
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