Mid-13c., boie “servant, commoner, knave, boy,” of unknown origin. Possibly from Old French embuie “one fettered,” from Vulgar Latin *imboiare, from Latin boia “leg iron, yoke, leather collar,” from Greek boeiai dorai “ox hides.” (Words for “boy” double as “servant, attendant” across the Indo-European map – compare Italian ragazzo, French garçon, Greek pais, Middle English knave, Old Church Slavonic otroku – and often it is difficult to say which meaning came first.)
Source: Online Etymology Dictionary
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