noun, plural dar·bies. Building Trades.

a float having two handles, used by plasterers.

Origin of darby

1565–75; perhaps after a proper name or Derby, England




a city in SE Pennsylvania.



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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for darby

Contemporary Examples of darby

  • Alex Gaurnaschelli is the executive chef of Butter Restaurant and The Darby.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Fresh Picks

    Alex Guarnaschelli

    September 15, 2011

  • I talked to [his then-wife] Darby, who said I needed to give this all over to a Higher Power.

  • I was determined not to let White House colleagues, the press, the public, or anyone else—up to and including Darby—see me suffer.

  • Darby McCormick is one of the best heroines in thriller fiction: smart, resourceful and tough as nails.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Thriller Night

    David J. Montgomery

    August 28, 2009

  • The book that introduced Darby, The Missing, is currently the only one available from an American publisher.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Thriller Night

    David J. Montgomery

    August 28, 2009

Historical Examples of darby

  • From an Irish estate, my great-grandfather changed it to that of Darby.

  • "Miss Darby, or I am mistaken," said he, with a bow of marked civility.

  • The vessel of Captain Darby was the first that reached the rock by nearly an hour.

  • This is the atmosphere which must have attended the performance of Dunlap's "Darby's Return."


    William Dunlap

  • His name was—Darby;—that was his baptizing name; his other name I forgot.

    The Contrast

    Royall Tyler

British Dictionary definitions for darby



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


pl n

British short for handcuffsSee handcuff

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
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