- noun a buffoon, a clumsy or foolish person. A mild term of contempt which can sometimes sound almost affectionate. It has been widely applied to the former US president Ronald Reagan. Originally from the USA and Canada, and dating from at least the 1920s, the word is now in limited use in Britain and Australia. Before the 1960s it meant a man or simple fellow, since then it has been adopted as a name for circus clowns. Attempts have been made to derive the word from Spanish origins such as vosotros (the familiar plural form of ‘you’) or a Mexican slang term for facial hair. In Italian bozo means a lump or bump.