Can someone help me understand what "booted" means in this sentence? A police captain says:

Local boys booted it. They didn't file the report until this morning.

Does "boot" mean something like "overlook"?

  • 2
    Could you add the context where you read/heard this sentence?
    – cigien
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 18:58
  • It's season 7, episode 8 of a TV series called "Monk". script here Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 19:12
  • 4
    The sentences immediately before refer to a car, so it's possible that this is a reference to a wheel clamp, sometimes called a "boot" in the US. This would mean that the captain is saying "Officers from the local precinct put a wheel clamp on the car." But I can't be 100% sure without having seen the episode.
    – stangdon
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 19:25
  • Oh, I see, thanks!
    – Denis
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 19:33

2 Answers 2


From the script, it sounds like the characters are describing an event that took place the previous evening, or possibly longer ago than that. They say that the local boys didn't file a report until "this morning," despite a scream being heard at 8:30 PM.

"Boot" and "punt" are both verbs that have the original or basic meaning "kick." Among other meanings, "punt" has the definition:

  1. (colloquial, intransitive) To equivocate and delay or put off (answering a question, addressing an issue, etc).

(In my opinion the bare verb "punt" is intransitive, but you can also use it with the preposition "on" and it becomes transitive.)

So if the "local boys" punted on the issue, it means they avoided addressing it until quite later, or perhaps didn't address it much at all (e.g. only filing a report, instead of actually investigating).

I don't think it's very common to use "boot" like this; definitely when I've heard the usage it's always "punt." But it's not too much of a stretch that the writers used "boot" with this meaning.

  • 1
    boot a car is to put a clamp on the wheels in AmE.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 20:41
  • In some parts of the U.S., it is common to use the word "boot" to mean "kick", as in "I was booted from the club" or "I booted that ball halfway across the field." The writers' use of "boot" instead of "punt" may be regionally dictated, or they may simply have not wanted to use "punt".
    – RobJarvis
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 20:55
  • 1
    I can't get behind this answer at all. Boot means kick, and punt also means kick, therefore boot means punt, and punt also means "to put off", so boot means to put off? That seems like a huge stretch, and I have never heard "boot" used this way.
    – stangdon
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 21:02
  • @Lambie I am well aware of that. That meaning doesn't make sense in the context of the script.
    – randomhead
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 21:10
  • 2
    Well, you may want to tell the local boys that. :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 21:12

(@stangdon's comment should be an answer.)
I assume that "it" is referring to a car. There's a punishment for parking in a place you're not allowed to, where instead of towing the car, they lock a device onto a wheel that prevents the car from driving away until a fine is paid. That's called "booting" the car. (It's a less serious result since the fine is much less than the towing cost, but it can only be used where it's ok for the car to stay there for some time.) "Local boys" would be the police or other rule-enforcers.

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