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 fob

1350–1400; Middle English fobben; cognate with German foppen to delude; cf. fob1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fobbed

Historical Examples of fobbed

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for fobbed


  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 for fob

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


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

Word Origin for fob

C15: probably from German foppen to trick


  1. NZ slang a Pacific Islander who has newly arrived in New Zealand

Word Origin for fob

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 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