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Here's an example of the phrase "to boot":

My wife made a disgusting looking dinner, and it tasted awful to boot!

The implication of the "to boot" is that the fact that the dinner tasted awful was as disappointing (or perhaps more so) than the fact that it looked disgusting.

It's a colloquial, possibly slang phrase, but I'd like to know what it's origin is, and whether it perhaps has other more esoteric uses.

3 Answers 3

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Nowadays, "to boot" is simply an idiomatic way of saying "moreover, on top of that" (see e.g. Wiktionary). Originally, it comes from Old English to bote. As Etymonline explains, in Old English bot meant "'help, relief, advantage; atonement,' literally 'a making better,'" from Proto-Germanic *boto, which is also where the word better comes from.

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  • Greetings from 2023! I would have guessed the "on top of that" comes from simply the idea that you have the extra thing that you could just "kick away" but according to the etymology u show, not even close to that.
    – releseabe
    Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 12:19
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It seems that to boot simply meens in addition.

My wife made a disgusting looking dinner, and it tasted awful too!

The origin would be bat meaning useful, so the original meaning would be used only in a positive sense.

phrases.org: to boot
thefreedictionary.com: to boot

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"Boot" also has a legal meaning. In commercial law, it means something additional that the seller gives, something not required by the contract.

Example: "When I took my car for an oil change, the dealer washed and waxed it, to boot."

A synonym is "lagniappe", used mostly in the southeastern USA.

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