Booby prize


      • consolation prize
        Awarding a prize or reward, often sarcastically, to someone who did not win or achieve the desired result

      • deceptive reward
        Offering a seemingly desirable or valuable reward or opportunity, but with hidden or negative consequences

    Examples of Booby prize

    • Jamie lost at poker last night, but at least he managed to win the booby prize for the lucky seat.

      The booby prize is a prize or award that is given reluctantly as a joke, to a person who has performed poorly or has no chance of winning the main prize. In this example, Jamie didn't win anything at poker, but as a consolation prize, he was given the booby prize for having an unlucky seat, meaning he didn't have a favorable position at the table.

    • Our team came in last place in the tournament, but at least we won the booby prize for the earliest breakfast call.

      Here, the booby prize is the earliest breakfast call, meaning the team that came last was forced to wake up earlier to eat breakfast before the start of the tournament. This is a humorous way of making light of their poor performance.

    • During the presentation, Sarah kept forgetting what she was going to say, and she ended up winning the booby prize for the longest pause.

      In this context, the booby prize is given to Sarah for her long pauses during the presentation. It's a light-hearted way of acknowledging her forgetfulness and fumbling on stage.

    • After the ski race, Tom's trainer revealed that he skied straight out of bounds and won the booby prize for being the first to quit the race.

      In this example, the booby prize is being awarded to Tom for quitting the ski race and skiing straight out of bounds. It's a playful way to acknowledge his defeat in the race.

    • The company's sales department missed their sales target by a considerable distance, and as a result, they were awarded the proverbial "booby prize" of a small trophy and a certificate pronouncing them the "least improved" department of the year.

      Booby prize refers to a prize given as a joke or consolation for coming last in a competition or activity where the winner receives a prize. Here, the sales department's performance was so poor that they received an award commonly given to someone who finishes last in a competition, signifying that they are the least improved department of the year.

    • The restaurant chain's new vegetarian menu received a lukewarm response from their customers, and they were left with an abundance of leftover ingredients, which they donated to a local charity as a "booby prize" for their efforts in improving the menu.

      Booby prize here describes an unexpected or unwanted prize granted as a jest to someone who has so little to show for their efforts. The restaurant chain's new vegetarian menu didn't receive much appreciation, and they were left with excessive ingredients that they couldn't use. As a result, they donated them as a "booby prize" for the charity's effort to improve their menu.

    • During a game of charades, Tom tried to act out the solution to the puzzle, but after an amusing ten-minute display, the other players announced that he had won the "booby prize" for the most hilarious but incorrect interpretation.

      Booby prize is used to signify a prize awarded to someone who finishes last or performs poorly in a competition. In this context, Tom didn't provide the correct answer to the charades puzzle but offered an entertaining and amusing interpretation, which earned him a "booby prize" for his efforts.

    • The state governor vowed to grant the least-developed district in the state the "booby prize" of a small educational grant, to foster improvements in their educational system, which had been falling behind the others for years.

      Booby prize, in this case, is used in a different context, where it refers to an award given to someone who finishes last as a joke or to spur them on to do better. Here, the least-developed district in the state was granted a small educational grant as an incentive to take responsibility for improving their educational system and bring it in line with others in the state.


    The idiom "booby prize" refers to a prize or reward that is given to someone as a consolation or as a deceptive reward. In both cases, the implication is that the prize is not truly desirable or valuable, and may even have negative consequences.

    In the first meaning, the intent is to discourage someone from participating in a particular activity or task by highlighting the lack of any real benefit or positive outcome. This could be used in a sarcastic or mocking manner, implying that the person did not actually win the desired prize.

    In the second meaning, the idiom is used to caution against accepting something that may seem attractive or appealing at first, but ultimately turns out to be a negative or harmful experience. This could be used in situations where someone is being offered a job or opportunity with seemingly great benefits, but the hidden consequences or drawbacks make it less desirable.

    Origin of "Booby prize"

    The origin of the idiom "booby prize" is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in the early 19th century. The word "booby" was originally used to refer to a foolish or stupid person, and it is thought that this term may have been used in the context of a prize given to someone who was not considered a skilled or successful competitor.

    Another theory suggests that the term may have originated from the Spanish word "bobada," meaning a foolish or ridiculous thing. This could have been passed down through the Spanish colonization of the Americas and eventually evolved into "booby prize."

    Regardless of its exact origin, the idiom has been used in various contexts throughout history, from sports competitions to carnival games. Today, it is commonly used in everyday language to describe a consolation prize or a deceptive reward.