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[dahr-beez] /ˈdɑr biz/
plural noun, British Slang.
handcuffs; manacles.
Origin of darbies
First recorded in 1565-75; probably from the phrase Darby's bonds a rigid bond, perhaps named after a noted 16th-century usurer


[dahr-bee] /ˈdɑr bi/
noun, plural darbies. Building Trades.
a float having two handles, used by plasterers.
1565-75; perhaps after a proper name or Derby, England Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for darbies
Historical Examples
  • That's not in my department, I shall have the darbies on him some day.

  • Look at the wee han's on 'em to slip out of darbies like the same.

    Tropic Days E. J. Banfield
  • I have put the darbies on the most terrible ruffian of modern times.'

    The Exploits of Juve

    Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain
  • Here, constables, put the darbies on 'em, and take 'em back to Hobarton.'

    The Book of the Bush George Dunderdale
  • And then the darbies were on him, and soon after they were off me.

    The Torch and Other Tales

    Eden Phillpotts
  • As he spoke he displayed a pair of "darbies," a kind of manacles consisting of a double ring of iron, furnished with a padlock.

  • The next instant the darbies were on her tender wrists, and we will add that no resistance was offered.

  • Trimm, the swell financeer, sportin' 'round with the darbies on him all nice an' snug an' reg'lar!

    The Escape of Mr. Trimm Irvin S. Cobb
  • It don't make any difference what his game is, right here is where he gets into a pair of darbies.

    Motor Matt's Daring Rescue Stanley R. Matthews
  • More than once I wake up in the night from dreaming that his scrawny hand was clapping the darbies on my wrists.

    A Daughter of Raasay William MacLeod Raine
British Dictionary definitions for darbies


plural noun
(Brit) short for handcuffs See handcuff
Word Origin
C16: perhaps from the phrase Father Derby's or Father Darby's bonds, a rigid agreement between a usurer and his client


Abraham. 1677–1717, British iron manufacturer: built the first coke-fired blast furnace (1709)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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