I work in a company which has a product called "Boogie" (for reasons that the original owner knows). The product has been called that way for years in our French Canadian environment. Our few English Canadian clients are used to that name.

Now, somebody said that the word "Boogie" does not sound good in English. It would have some negative connotation. Is that true? What would be the negative meaning attached to that word?

I ask the question because people are thinking about changing the name of the product, which is no small task.

  • You may need to tag this with a particular variety of English. Boogie in American English has a connotation which it doesn't in British English (and for which we use Bogey).
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 17, 2013 at 14:40
  • It would be "Canadian English", if there is such a thing. I think that Canadians speak a mixture of American and British English, but I could be wrong.
    – ConnorsFan
    Sep 17, 2013 at 15:54
  • There you go...
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 17, 2013 at 15:56
  • Andrew Leach, that's a good point. In the UK, the word does not have a negative connotation. It makes me think of a kind of dancing and music, like this youtube.com/watch?v=_jLGa4X5H2c , Boogie wonderland by Earth Wind and Fire.
    – Tristan
    Sep 18, 2013 at 11:36

4 Answers 4


Boogie is a nickname with many meanings. Here are American English uses:

  1. Booger (used a lot) - Boogers from your nose can be called boogies and they sell things called Boogie Wipes for babies.

  2. Monster (used some but dated) - The Boogie Monster comes out at night. Just a general night time monster.

  3. Surfboard (surfers use it a lot) - Boogie board being a type of surfboard.

  4. Dance (very dated) - Type of disco era dance or actually refers to the act of dancing.

  5. Affectionate nickname (very current and well used) - "Boogie Miles", character from a popular movie that spun off into a popular sitcom.

  6. Music (probably just used in the blue lexicon) - musical rhythm in blues.

I doubt I am getting them all but those are the ones off the top of my head. I totally disagree with it being a racial term. If it were one of the main characters from Friday Night Lights - "Boogie Miles" would have had his name changed (he was black). Also a 14 year-old kid from my son's football team (also black) is affectionately called "Boogie" and I refer to him as "Boogie". I have personally known 4 people in my life with that nickname. If someone said the word boogie to me I would think booger or person.

  • "boogie-woogie" is a dance style that predates Disco. Wikipedia connects it to jazz in the 20's and African styles from at least the 1870's. Mar 3, 2019 at 16:50

In some places it's a synonym of bogie or bogey in several meanings (a sort of folklore monster, an enemy, an act of holding onto a cannabis cigarette for too long, a piece of nasal mucus, or Humphrey Bogart - only the last of these is positive).

As a word for dance, it could seem a bit dated.

However, I note that there are two different things called "boogie boards", which seem not to suffer from this, so I'm inclined to say you shouldn't clash to hard against the negative meaning unless you've something that causes one of them to come to mind (e.g. one sticks your product up one's nose).

  • Thanks for your answer. The product is a software, actually. So it's immaterial.
    – ConnorsFan
    Sep 17, 2013 at 15:50

Boogie can be used as a derogative term for an African American, or any person of African descent.

In this context, the term is very derogatory. It's like saying "porch monkey" or other hate speech.

This may derive from the boogie being a kind of musical rhythm, which due to 'successful' african-american dance trends, became associated (in the USA?) with people of African descent in general. Add a dash of multi-directional racism (e.g. "white people can't dance") and you get the term 'boogie' being applied as a derogatory noun representative of a 'category of people.'

Can't check sites with hate-speech from here, but here is an ngram link for a casual reinforcement of this point.

  • 1
    I've never heard that word used as you describe (I'm Midwestern US). Do you know where it is used as such? Sep 17, 2013 at 16:25
  • Maybe it's an Eastern regions expression? If we found it in Chicago / Detroit then I'd think it is connected with the areas that influenced jazz music Sep 17, 2013 at 16:29
  • Maybe. If it's used in Chicago, I haven't heard it. Sep 17, 2013 at 16:34
  • 3
    I've never heard this use in Ontario but it is one that OP should bear in mind if s/he wishes to continue to market a product with this name.
    – JAM
    Sep 17, 2013 at 16:36
  • Now that I think, I've also heard in used in Arizona. IANAR :) Sep 17, 2013 at 16:56

Boogie is vernacular for dancing, primarily. Depending on your pronunciation, it could be mistaken for "bougie", which is a derogatory term for someone who aspires to join a "higher" social class.

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