• synonyms


plural noun British Slang.
  1. handcuffs; manacles.
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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


noun, plural dar·bies. Building Trades.
  1. a float having two handles, used by plasterers.
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Origin of darby

1565–75; perhaps after a proper name or Derby, England
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for darbies

Historical Examples of darbies

  • That's not in my department, I shall have the darbies on him some day.

    The International Monthly, Volume 3, No. 2, May, 1851


  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for darbies


pl n
  1. British short for handcuffsSee handcuff
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Word Origin for darbies

C16: perhaps from the phrase Father Derby's or Father Darby's bonds, a rigid agreement between a usurer and his client


  1. Abraham. 1677–1717, British iron manufacturer: built the first coke-fired blast furnace (1709)
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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