Who would have imagined that someone would actually look into the origins of booing? The Explainer at Slate magazine did just that:

    While people have expressed displeasure publicly since ancient times, the English word boo was first used in the early 19th century to describe the lowing sound that cattle make. Later in the 1800s, the word came to be used to describe the disapproving cry of crowds.

So, now you know. If you have a bad speaker at a European or South American conference, don’t be surprised if they whistle instead, according to the article. Better yet, I’d get a clip of the speaker to make sure s/he’s not boo-worthy!


If you hold international meetings, you might want to take a gander at the 2005 Country and City Rankings compiled by the International Congress and Convention Association. The top countries are the U.S., Germany, Spain, the U.K., and France; top cities are Vienna, Singapore, Barcelona, Berlin, and Hong Kong. By “top,” they mean the countries and cities hosting the largest number of international congresses, according to its database.