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  1. fractional orbital bombardment system.


  1. a small pocket just below the waistline in trousers for a watch, keys, change, etc.Compare watch pocket.
  2. a short chain or ribbon, usually with a medallion or similar ornament, attached to a watch and worn hanging from a pocket.
  3. the medallion or ornament itself.

Origin of fob1

1645–55; origin uncertain; compare German dialect Fuppe pocket


verb (used with object), fobbed, fob·bing.
  1. Archaic. to cheat; deceive.
Verb Phrases
  1. 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fobs

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Pox take the Tailors for making the Fobs so deep and narrow!

  • But so far from sleep was I, that I could hear their watches ticking in their fobs.

  • Fobs: small pockets in the waistband of trousers to receive a watch.

  • There were two pockets which we could not enter: these he called his fobs.

  • He passed on to his fobs, explored the first, returned to the second.

    Les Misrables

    Victor Hugo

British Dictionary definitions for fobs


  1. a chain or ribbon by which a pocket watch is attached to a waistcoat
  2. any ornament hung on such a chain
  3. a small pocket in a man's waistcoat, for holding a watch
  4. a metal or plastic tab on a key ring

Word Origin

C17: probably of Germanic origin; compare German dialect Fuppe pocket


verb fobs, fobbing or fobbed
  1. an archaic word for cheat

Word Origin

C15: probably from German foppen to trick


  1. 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

Word Origin and History for fobs



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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