Bo

or Boh, in old Runic, was a fierce Gothic captain, son of Odin. His name was used by his soldiers when they would take the enemy by surprise. (Sir William Temple.)

From this name comes our bogie, a hobgoblin or little Bo. Gifford Castle is called Bo Hall, being said to have been constructed by bogies or magic. Compare Greek, boi, bah! verb, boaô, to shout out; Latin, böo, to bellow like a bull (bos). (See Bogie.)

You cannot say Bo! to a goose
-i.e. you are a coward who dare not say bo! even to a fool. When Ben Jonson was introduced to a nobleman, the peer was so struck with his homely appearance that he exclaimed, “What! are you Ben Jonson? Why, you look as if you could not say Bo! to a goose.” “Bo!” exclaimed the witty dramatist, turning to the peer and making his bow. (Latin, bo-are; Greek, boa-ein, to cry aloud.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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