a corncob.
a male swan.
a short-legged, thick-set horse, often having a high gait and frequently used for driving.
British. a mixture of clay and straw, used as a building material.
British Dialect. a rounded mass or lump.
a crude silver or gold Spanish-American coin of the 16th to 18th centuries, characteristically irregular in shape and bearing only a partial impression of the dies from which it was struck.

Origin of cob

1375–1425; late Middle English cobbe male swan, leader of a gang; these and various subsequent senses are obscurely related and probably in part of distinct orig. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cob

Contemporary Examples of cob

Historical Examples of cob

  • With a nod, he sent the cob on again, and Nell continued her climb.

    Nell, of Shorne Mills

    Charles Garvice

  • The mechanics of realistically moving Saturn was rougher than a cob.

  • And so it proved; I followed the directions of the groom, and the cob gave me every assistance.


    George Borrow

  • You should have seen him when I picked him up before me on the cob.

    That Stick

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • As I had a slight headache, a visit to the Cob would, I thought, do me good.

British Dictionary definitions for cob




a male swan
a thickset short-legged type of riding and draught horse
British another name for hazel (def. 1)
a small rounded lump or heap of coal, ore, etc
British and NZ a building material consisting of a mixture of clay and chopped straw
Also called: cob loaf British a round loaf of bread

verb cobs, cobbing or cobbed

(tr) British informal to beat, esp on the buttocks

Word Origin for cob

C15: of uncertain origin; probably related to Icelandic kobbi seal; see cub





an archaic or dialect name for the greater black-backed gull (Larus marinus)See also gull 1

Word Origin for cob

C16: of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kob, kobbe
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 cob

a word or set of identical words with a wide range of meanings, many seeming to derive from notions of "heap, lump, rounded object," also "head" and its metaphoric extensions. With cognates in other Germanic languages; of uncertain origin and development. "The N.E.D. recognizes eight nouns cob, with numerous sub-groups. Like other monosyllables common in the dial[ect] its hist[ory] is inextricable" [Weekley]. In the 2nd print edition, the number stands at 11. Some senses are probably from Old English copp "top, head," others probably from Old Norse kubbi or Low German, all perhaps from a Proto-Germanic base *kubb- "something rounded." Among the earliest attested English senses are "headman, chief," and "male swan," both early 15c., but the surname Cobb (1066) suggests Old English used a form of the word as a nickname for "big, leading man." The "corn shoot" sense is attested by 1680s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper