wooden boards collectively.
a structure of boards, as in a fence or a floor.
the act of a person who boards a ship, train, airplane, or the like:
an uneventful boarding.
a piece of wood sawed thin, and of considerable length and breadth compared with the thickness.
a flat slab of wood or other material for some specific purpose:
a cutting board.
a sheet of wood, cardboard, paper, etc., with or without markings, for some special use, as a checkerboard or chessboard.

Theater. the stage:
The play will go on the boards next week.
the wooden fence surrounding the playing area of an ice-hockey rink.
a racing course made of wood, used especially in track meets held indoors:
his first time running on boards.

Bookbinding. stiff cardboard or other material covered with paper, cloth, or the like to form the covers for a book.
Building Trades. composition material made in large sheets, as plasterboard or corkboard.
a table, especially to serve food on.
daily meals, especially as provided for pay:
twenty dollars a day for room and board.
an official group of persons who direct or supervise some activity:
a board of directors.

the side of a ship.
one leg, or tack, of the course of a ship beating to windward.

Railroads. a fixed signal or permanent sign regulating traffic.
a flat surface, as a wall or an object of rectangular shape, on which something is posted, as notices or stock-market quotations:
a bulletin board.

Also called card, circuit board. a piece of fiberglass or other material upon which chips can be mounted to perform specific functions.
plugboard (def 2).

Electronics. circuit board (def 2).
a switchboard.

the area of a woolshed where shearing is done.
a crew of shearers working in a particular woolshed.
sheep about to be sheared.

Obsolete. the edge, border, or side of anything.
to cover or close with boards (often followed by up or over):
to board up a house; to board over a well.
to furnish with meals, or with meals and lodging, especially for pay:
They boarded him for $50 a week.
to go on board of or enter (a ship, train, etc.).
to allow on board:
We will be boarding passengers in approximately ten minutes.
to come up alongside (a ship), as to attack or to go on board:
The pirate ship boarded the clipper.
Obsolete. to approach; accost.
to take one’s meals, or be supplied with food and lodging at a fixed price:
Several of us board at the same rooming house.
Ice Hockey. to hit an opposing player with a board check.
across the board,

Racing. betting on a horse or dog to finish first, second, or third, so that any result where a selection wins, places, or shows enables the bettor to collect.
applying to or affecting every person, class, group, etc.

go by the board,

to go over the ship’s side.
to be destroyed, neglected, or forgotten:
All his devoted labor went by the board.

on board,

on or in a ship, plane, or other vehicle:
There were several movie stars on board traveling incognito.
Baseball. on base:
There were two men on board as the next batter came up.
present and functioning as a member of a team or organization.

Also, aboard.
on the boards, in the theatrical profession:
The family has been on the boards since grandfather’s time.
tread the boards. tread (def 22).
Contemporary Examples

Hunting Down Aribert Heim, Egypt’s Hidden Nazi Nicholas Kulish, Souad Mekhennet March 23, 2014
8 Most Frequent Flier Freakouts The Daily Beast August 10, 2010
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Ai Weiwei Justin Jones May 14, 2014
Highlights of the Women in the World Summit The Daily Beast March 11, 2010
Flight 370 Was Carrying 440 Pounds of Dangerous Batteries Clive Irving April 30, 2014

Historical Examples

The Vagrant Duke George Gibbs
Up the River Oliver Optic
Driven From Home Horatio Alger
The Highest Treason Randall Garrett
The Young Oarsmen of Lakeview Ralph Bonehill

a structure of boards, such as a floor or fence
timber boards collectively

the act of embarking on an aircraft, train, ship, etc
(as modifier): a boarding pass

a process used in tanning to accentuate the natural grain of hides, in which the surface of a softened leather is lightly creased by folding grain to grain and the fold is worked to and fro across the leather
a long wide flat relatively thin piece of sawn timber

a smaller flat piece of rigid material for a specific purpose: ironing board
(in combination): breadboard, cheeseboard

a person’s food or meals, provided regularly for money or sometimes as payment for work done (esp in the phrases full board, board and lodging)
(archaic) a table, esp one used for eating at, and esp when laden with food

(sometimes functioning as pl) a group of people who officially administer a company, trust, etc: a board of directors
(as modifier): a board meeting

any other committee or council: a board of interviewers
(pl) the boards, the acting profession; the stage
short for blackboard, chessboard, notice board, printed circuit board, springboard, surfboard
stiff cardboard or similar material covered with paper, cloth, etc, used for the outside covers of a book
a flat thin rectangular sheet of composite material, such as plasterboard or chipboard
(mainly US)

a list on which stock-exchange securities and their prices are posted
(informal) the stock exchange itself


the side of a ship
the leg that a sailing vessel makes on a beat to windward

(Austral & NZ) the part of the floor of a sheep-shearing shed, esp a raised part, where the shearers work
(NZ) the killing floor of an abattoir or freezing works

any of various portable surfaces specially designed for indoor games such as chess, backgammon, etc
(as modifier): board games

a set of hands in duplicate bridge
a wooden or metal board containing four slots, or often nowadays, a plastic wallet, in which the four hands are placed so that the deal may be replayed with identical hands

the hull of a sailboard, usually made of plastic, to which the mast is jointed and on which a windsurfer stands
See above board
go by the board, to be in disuse, neglected, or lost: in these days courtesy goes by the board
on board, on or in a ship, boat, aeroplane, or other vehicle
sweep the board

(in gambling) to win all the cards or money
to win every event or prize in a contest

take on board, to accept (new ideas, situations, theories, etc)
to go aboard (a vessel, train, aircraft, or other vehicle)
(nautical) to come alongside (a vessel) before attacking or going aboard
to attack (a ship) by forcing one’s way aboard
(transitive; often foll by up, in, etc) to cover or shut with boards
(intransitive) to give or receive meals or meals and lodging in return for money or work
(sometimes foll by out) to receive or arrange for (someone, esp a child) to receive food and lodging away from home, usually in return for payment

A ticket to a show or game; pasteboard (1950s+ Show business)
A rebound, the catching of a ball that bounces off the backboard or the basket: We did a heck of a job on Shaq. He had 10 boards (1990s+ Basketball)


across the board
back to the drawing board
bed and board
bulletin board
by the board
go overboard
on board
open and aboveboard
room and board
stiff as a board
tread the boards


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