Word Confusion: Boar vs Boer vs Boor vs Bore

Posted January 18, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Don’t be such a bore of a boor! Boors generally love to eat boar, for wild pig is such a treat. I would assume it’s even a treat for Boers.

All right, so much for fun and games. The serious word confusion is between boor and bore. Many writers believe that the words are interchangeable. No. A boor is more of a foollish country bumpkin, a buffoon without discretion or taste while a bore will probably make you fall asleep, for they are so tedious to listen to. They’ll probably bore you to tears, they’re that uninteresting in their conversation.

Now, a Boer is actually an ancestor of the Afrikaners of South Africa, a migration of Dutch settlers way back in the day.

As for boar…yummy. I do like a tasty bit of pork.

These heterograhs will be the death of us!

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

If you found this post on “Boar vs Boer vs Boor vs Bore” interesting, consider tweeting it to your friends. Subscribe to KD Did It, if you’d like to track this post for future updates.

Return to top

boar Boer boor bore
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: Boer, boor, and tidal bore

A wild boar walking in water

“Ausgewachsenes Wildschwein beim Suhlen” is 4028mdk09’s own work under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

Grown wild boar wallowing.

A vintage portrait of the men in a Boer family, all holding their rifles

“A Boer Family of Sharpshooters at Johannesburg” courtesy of Internet Archive Book Images with no restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons

A black-and-whtie photo of passengers aboard ship look toward the Statue of Liberty

“Immigrants Approaching Statue of Liberty” by Edwin Levick is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Immigrants were commonly viewed as boors by Americans.

Three bored children in native costume sit in the audience

“Tana Toraja, Salu Funeral, Young Relatives of the Deceased” by Arian Zwegers is under the CC BY 2.0 license, via Visualhunt.

These kids are so bored.

Part of Grammar:
Adjective; Noun
Plural for noun: boar, boars
Adjective; Proper Noun
Plural for noun: Boers
Plural for noun: boors
Noun 1, 2, 3;
Verb 1, intransitive & transitive 2

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: bores
Past tense or past participle: bored
Gerund or present participle: boring

Bore is also the simple past tense of bear 4

[South Midland and Southern U.S.; of animals] Male, especially full-grown

Wild pig

[Also wild boar] A tusked Eurasian wild pig from which domestic pigs are descended

  • The flesh of the wild boar as food

An uncastrated domestic male pig

  • The full-grown male of certain other animals, especially a badger, guinea pig, or hedgehog
A South African of Dutch descent

Of or relating to the Boers

Proper Noun:
[Chiefly historical] A member of the Dutch and Huguenot population that settled in southern Africa in the late 17th century

Tasteless buffoon

An unrefined, ill-mannered person

  • A country bumpkin
  • Rustic
  • Yokel


A hole or not interesting

The hollow part inside a gun barrel or other tube

  • [Often in combination] The diameter of this
  • The caliber
  • [In combination] A gun of a specified bore

Short for borehole

A person whose talk or behavior is dull and uninteresting 2

  • [In singular] A tedious situation or thing

A steep-fronted wave caused by the meeting of two tides or by the constriction of a tide rushing up a narrow estuary 3

Verb, intransitive:
Make a hole in something, especially with a revolving tool
Make one’s way through a crowd

Verb, transitive:
Make a hole in something, especially with a revolving tool

  • Hollow out (a tube or tunnel)
  • Hollow out (a gun barrel)

To weary by dullness, tedious repetition, unwelcome attentions, etc. 2

A boar cat can be good hunting.

“The 42-year-old was hit as she and her husband unwittingly rode into the middle of a boar hunt.”, The Sun, 2015

“There were three hundred and sixty boar pigs, and the herdsman’s four hounds, which were as fierce as wolves, slept always with them.” – Homer, The Odyssey

“Perhaps the boar’s Head had something to do with it, but certainly the footman had.” – Charles Dickens, The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit

“Aren’t you going to give me some of the boar’s head with pistachio nuts?” – Emile Zola, The Fat and the Thin

In Latin, boar is Sus scrofa, of the family Suidae.

“This affable gent will take you on a customized walk, hike, or boar hunt around town.”, Jolie Hunt, “Gal With a Suitcase“, The Daily Beast, 20 February 2010

“If every bear and boar were kept in a den — what a fine world this would be.” – Percival Leigh, The Comic Latin Grammar

“The oaths were ratified by the sacrifice of a bull, a wolf , a boar, and a ram over a shield.” – Xenophon, Anabasis

“The boar, watching its fate, squealed, and the python advanced.” – Florence Partello Stuart, The Adventures of Piang the Moro Jungle Boy

“The story of the boar and the tortoise too, can be traced back to the Vedic literature.” – F. Max Miller, India: What Can It Teach Us

Conflict with the British administration of Cape Colony after 1806 led to the Great Trek of 1835–37 and the Boer Wars.

The Boer republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State became part of the Republic of South Africa.

There’s a Boer settlement up ahead.

Proper Noun:
The Boers were Calvinist in religion and fiercely self-sufficient.

The Boers’ present-day descendants are the Afrikaners.

At last the big obnoxious boor had been dealt a stunning blow for his uncouth and belligerent manner.

I find Paul to be such a boor.

The boor would never have understood what I said.

The countess is certainly not married to some boor from the countryside!

Kevin felt such a boor for having thought she would like his gift.

We’ll need a large bore, if we’re going to use these melons.

He carries a small-bore rifle.

He shot a guard in the leg with a twelve-bore.

Look at the size of this bore in that oak!

Housecleaning and laundry are such a bore.

It’s such a bore cooking when one’s alone.

David is a bore. If I have to listen to him one more time, I’ll snap.

He is a crashing bore who tells the same old jokes over and over.

“The phenomenon of the tidal bore is sometimes seen on the Humber (Encyclopaedia Britannica).”

“This had been in comparatively quiet water all the way, with nothing much to look out for save the tidal bore at the lower end.” – Lewis R. Freeman, Down the Columbia

Verb, intransitive:
The drill can bore through rock.

He bored through the crowd with ease.

Verb, transitive:
His eyes bored into hers.

They bored holes in the sides.

You’ll need to bore a number of small holes, if you want this to drain properly.

Try to bore the tunnel at the correct angle.

Have you tried boring it bigger?

His speech bored me to tears.

Rather than bore you with all the details, I’ll hit some of the bright spots.

She bore him three children.

Adjective: Boer
Noun: boerbul, boerbull
Adjective: boorish
Adverb: boorishly
Noun: boorishness
Adjective: bored, boring
Adverb: boredly, boringly
Noun: boredom, borehole, borer, borescope, boringness
History of the Word:
Old English bār is of West Germanic origin and related to the Dutch beer and the German Bär. From the Dutch boer meaning farmer. Mid-16th century in the sense of peasant, which is from the Low German būr or the Dutch boer meaning farmer. 1 Old English verb, borian, is of Germanic origin and related to the German bohren.

2 A mid-18th century verb of unknown origin.

3 Early 17th century and perhaps from the Old Norse bára meaning wave. By Middle English, the term was used in the general sense of billow, wave.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

Return to top

Pinterest Photo Credits:

Mafikeng Second Boer War by Skeoch Cumming W is in the public domain. Musket Ball with Hole is Rosser1954’s own work under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license. Wild Boar Rubbing is Richard Bartz, Munich Makro Freak’s own work under the CC BY-SA 2.5 license. All three are via Wikimedia Commons. Nerdboy by J. Chris Vaughan is under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license, via VisualHunt.

Kathy's signature