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See also: FOB, F.O.B., and F. O. B.



Etymology 1[edit]

From German Low German Fobke (pocket) or German (East Prussian dialect) Fuppe (pocket).


fob (plural fobs)

  1. A little pocket near the waistline of a pair of trousers or in a waistcoat or vest to hold a pocketwatch; a watch pocket.
    1711 Jonathan Swift, Windsor Prophecy:
    • With a saint at his chin and a seal at his fob.
  2. A short chain or ribbon to connect such a pocket to the watch.
  3. A small ornament attached to such a chain. (See Usage Notes below)
  4. A hand-held remote control device used to lock/unlock motor cars etc.
Usage notes[edit]
  • The Jonathan Swift quote indicates that the word "fob" at that time period did not specifically apply to an object attached to the chain or watch.
  • A "fob" attached directly to the watch serves as an ornament and or as a grip for more easily pulling the watch from the watch pocket.
  • A fob attached to a drooping chain would be mainly an ornament.

Etymology 2[edit]

German foppen (to mock)

Alternative forms[edit]


fob (third-person singular simple present fobs, present participle fobbing, simple past and past participle fobbed)

  1. (transitive, archaic) To cheat, to deceive, to trick, to take in, to impose upon someone.
    1604 William Shakespeare, Othello, iv, 2:
    • I think it is scurvy, and begin to find myself fobbed in it.
  2. (transitive, archaic) To beat; to maul.
Derived terms[edit]


  • 1897 Universal Dictionary of the English Language, Robert Hunter and Charles Morris, eds., v 2 p 2146.