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Boffo is a kind of headology, described by Pratchett as "the power of expectations"; the strength one gains from behaving exactly as someone expects you to. Boffo is introduced by the witch Miss Eumenides Treason in Wintersmith as a way of she ensuring that people take her seriously.

Boffo gets its name from the Boffo Novelty and Joke Shop, no. 4, Tenth Egg Street, Ankh-Morpork, where Miss Treason purchase most of her interior decorating supplies, the better to ensure that when people come calling they don't see what is really there (a tired, blind 111-year-old woman), but what they expect (a venerable, terrifying 113-year-old witch).

The idea of Boffo is also understood by those forward-looking wizards who have to make a living in the community: the premises of C.V. Cheesewaller, DM(Unseen) B Thau, BF, in Quirm, are liberally festooned with hanging stuffed crocodiles, dribbly candles, skulls, and "the usual wizardly paraphernalia". Quoth the raven dismissively says "They get it all out of a catalogue. Believe me, it all comes in a big box".

Annotations[]

Boffo is a term meaning 'very good' and is used in show business to mean 'hugely successful'. It likely comes from a contraction of 'Box Office'. The name resonates with Zonko's Joke Shop in the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, but whether Pratchett was thinking of this is unknown. Mister Boffo is also the main character in a comic strip by Joe Martin. As a concept, Boffo is hardly unique to the Discworld: Roundworld bling such as Rolex watches, Armani suits and the crowns of kings is all Boffo, only more expensive.

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