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[fob] /fɒb/
verb (used with object), fobbed, fobbing.
Archaic. to cheat; deceive.
Verb phrases
fob off,
  1. to cheat someone by substituting something spurious or inferior; palm off (often followed by on):
    He tried to fob off an inferior brand on us.
  2. to put (someone) off by deception or trickery:
    She fobbed us off with false promises.
Origin of fob2
1350-1400; Middle English fobben; cognate with German foppen to delude; cf. fob1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fobbed
Historical Examples
  • It was calm and hot, and seeing he would not be fobbed off, we started.

  • To be fobbed out of my rent and twenty-five dollars into the bargain!

    Ormond, Volume II (of 3)

    Charles Brockden Brown
  • She fobbed me off with a half-promise in the end; but I wasn't satisfied.

    Linda Lee, Incorporated Louis Joseph Vance
  • It is not enough to secure a lodging in the attic; you must not be fobbed off with a front attic that faces the street.

    The Caxtons, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • His powers of enjoyment are not "fobbed with the rusty curb of old Father Antic, the law."

    In Pastures Green Peter McArthur
  • This embassy had been at first fobbed off, but finally the regalia were sent him in token of full recognition of his authority.

    A Short History of Italy Henry Dwight Sedgwick
British Dictionary definitions for fobbed


a chain or ribbon by which a pocket watch is attached to a waistcoat
any ornament hung on such a chain
a small pocket in a man's waistcoat, for holding a watch
a metal or plastic tab on a key ring
Word Origin
C17: probably of Germanic origin; compare German dialect Fuppe pocket


verb fobs, fobbing, fobbed
an archaic word for cheat
Word Origin
C15: probably from German foppen to trick


(NZ, slang) a Pacific Islander who has newly arrived in New Zealand
Word Origin
C20: from f(resh) o(ff) (the) b(oat)
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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Word Origin and History for fobbed



1650s, "small pocket for valuables," probably related to Low German fobke "pocket," High German fuppe "pocket," "a dialectal word used in Livonia" [Klein]. Meaning "chain attached to a watch carried in the fob" is from 1885.



"to cheat," late 14c., from obsolete noun fobbe "cheat, trickster" (late 14c.), perhaps from Old French forbe "cheat" [OED]. Alternative etymology holds that the word is perhaps related to German foppen "to jeer at, make a fool of" (see fop); or from German fuppen, einfuppen "to pocket stealthily," which would connect it to fob (n.). To fob (someone) off is first recorded 1590s. Related: Fobbed; fobbing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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