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Origin unknown. Perhaps from Yiddish חבֿר(khaver, comrade), which is borrowed from Hebrew חבר(khavér, friend), or, perhaps from the British dialectal term cob (take a liking to).[1]. The suggestion that it is a self-referential collective term for convicts and immigrants who departed for Australian shores from the Irish port of Cobh seems chronologically unlikely.


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


cobber (plural cobbers)

  1. (Australia) A pal, buddy, mate, friend; often used in direct address by one male to another.
    What's up, cobber?
    G'day cobber!
    • 1953, Nevil Shute, In the Wet, 2010, unnumbered page,
      “He′s a good cobber, even if he is the parson,” he said at last. “He′s a good cobber.”
      “That′s right,” said Jim patiently. “He′s a good cobber, and he′s the parson. Now you buzz off and leave him be. We′ve got business to talk here.”
    • 1955, Charles McCormac, “You′ll Die in Singapore!”[1], page 181:
      He was the first member of our forces we had seen for five months. “Hi ya, cobber,” muttered Don.
    • 2009, George W. Adams, Under the Southern Cross[2], page 137:
      A voice from out of nowhere challenged: “Who is going away cobber?” “Bob!” I shouted. “Boy, am I glad to see you ... Where the hell have you been, my dear bloody cobber?”
  2. (Australia) A sweet consisting of a small block of hard caramel covered in chocolate.




  1. Australian National Dictionary Centre » Meanings and origins of Australian words and idioms » C