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  • (UK) IPA(key): /klɒb.ə(ɹ)/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɒbə(ɹ)

Etymology 1[edit]

British slang from 1941; possibly onomatopoeic of the sound of detonated bombs in the distance.


clobber (third-person singular simple present clobbers, present participle clobbering, simple past and past participle clobbered)

  1. (transitive, slang) To hit or bash severely; to seriously harm or damage.
    • 1954, Evan Hunter, The Blackboard Jungle, 1984, page 201,
      So the temptation to clobber was always there, and it was sometimes more difficult not to strike than it would have been to strike, and the consequences be damned.
    • 2000 November 30, Kenya National Assembly Official Record (Hansard), page 3034,
      Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the East African Standard newspaper we saw a picture of a man being carried away after being clobbered. We also saw women being clobbered by well-built policemen using big clubs. They were clobbering women who had already fallen on the ground.
    • 2002, Donald K. Burleson, Oracle9i UNIX Administration Handbook[1], page 395:
      Most of the job of the UNIX Oracle DBA is keeping the database running, and it does not come as a surprise when they see how easy it is to clobber a server.
      The following script cripples the UNIX server by an implosion of incoming jobs. This is known as a denial of service (DOS) attack [] .
  2. (transitive, computing) To overwrite (data) or override (an assignment of a value), often unintentionally or unexpectedly.
    • 1999, Michael J. Wooldridge, Anand Rao, Foundations of Rational Agency, page 74,
      Inferences made in accordance with this reason are defeated by finding that the merged plan clobbers one of the causal-links in one of the constituent plans.
    • 2004, John R. Levine, Margaret Levine Young, Unix for Dummies, page 314,
      The cp command does one thing as it clobbers a file; mv and ln do another.
    • 2007, Billy Hoffman, Bryan Sullivan, Ajax Security, unnumbered page,
      These functions collide, and we can see in Figure 7-1 that the debug() function for SexyWidgets clobbers the developer′s debug() function. The last function declared with the same name in the same scope will silently clobber the earlier function definition.
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Etymology 2[edit]

British slang from 19th century.

EB1911 - Volume 01 - Page 001 - 1.svg This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this term, please add it to the page per etymology instructions, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.


clobber (uncountable)

  1. (Britain, Australia, slang) Clothing.
    • 1892, Rudyard Kipling, Loot, in Barrack-Room Ballads, Gutenberg eBook #2819,
      W′y, they call a man a robber if ′e stuffs ′is marchin′ clobber / With the— / (Chorus) Loo! loo! Lulu! lulu! Loo! loo! Loot! loot! loot!
    • 1899, George Bernard Shaw, Captain Brassbound's Conversion, Gutenberg eBook #3418,
      Now to get rid of this respectable clobber and feel like a man again.
    • 1919, C. J. Dennis, Red Robin, in Jim of The Hills, Gutenberg Australia eBook #0500931,
      I was thinkin′ of the widow while I gets me clobber on - / Like a feller will start thinkin′ of the times that′s past an′ gone.
    • 2017 March 30, Mullin, Gemma, “We road test new uber-cheap clobber as Poundland rolls-out its own clothing range – but there’s a twist”, in The Sun[2]:
      I went to one in Woolwich, south-east London, which is one of the first stores to welcome the Pep&Co range, to road test the new uber-cheap clobber for myself.
  2. (Britain, slang) Equipment.

Etymology 3[edit]


clobber (uncountable)

  1. A paste used by shoemakers to hide the cracks in leather.


  • clobber” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.
  • The Dinkum Dictionary
  • “The Jargon File”, in (Please provide the title of the work)[3], (Please provide a date or year)