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”).. 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.
cobber (plural cobbers)
- (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!”, 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, 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?”
- (Australia) A sweet consisting of a small block of hard caramel covered in chocolate.
- See also Thesaurus:friend