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From Middle English gobet, from Middle French gobet (mouthful, piece), diminutive of gobe.[1] See gober.



gobbet (plural gobbets)

  1. A quantity of liquid, often in a sticky blotch.
    • 1624, Philip Barrough [i.e., Philip Barrow], “Of Making Bolus”, in The Method of Physick, Contaning[sic] the Cavses, Signes, and Cvres of Inward Diseases in Mans Body, from the Head to the Foote. Whereunto is Added, The Forme and Rule of Making Remedies and Medicines, which Our Physitions Commonly Vse at this Day, with the Proportion, Quantity, and Names of Each Medicine, 6th edition, book VII, London: Imprinted by Richard Field, dwelling in great Woodstreete, →OCLC, page 397:
      Bolvs in Engliſh is called a morſell. It is a medicine laxatiue, in forme and faſhion it is meanely whole, and it is ſwallowed by little gobbets.
    • 1962, Ian Brook, The Black List, page 48:
      He balked only when the priest scooped from the pot some of the medicine the woman had prepared and presented it for him to eat. The man shouted and Justin obediently opened his mouth to receive the sticky gobbet of paste.
  2. A lump or chunk of something, especially of raw meat.
    • 1875, John Cordy Jeaffreson, A Book about the Table[1], volume I, page 77:
      The gobbet – the largest piece of meat served in hash or soup – was about the size of a man's thumb.
    • 1912, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World [], London, New York, N.Y.: Hodder and Stoughton, →OCLC:
      This bottom was littered with great gobbets of flesh, most of which was in the last state of putridity.
  3. An extract of text, or image (especially a quotation), provided as a context for analysis, discussion, or translation in an examination.
    • 1990, Frances Blow, “Seeking patterns, making meanings: Using computerised sources in teaching history in secondary schools”, in Evan Mawdsley, editor, History and Computing, volume III:
      This new status for primary source material in schools was not a permeation down of the gobbet tradition from undergraduate courses. The gobbet functioned as a prompt to an exposition on the context of the extract — the period, the events, the people and ideas referred to in the gobbet.
    • 2002 July 16, “Analysing Primary Sources”, in Cardiff University School of History and Archaeology[2], archived from the original on February 13, 2006:
      Gobbets are designed to assess your ability to comment critically upon source material, whether a text or an object. Each gobbet will have at least one specific point that should be addressed/analysed, so always consider why a particular passage/image has been chosen.


Further reading[edit]


gobbet (third-person singular simple present gobbets, present participle gobbeting, simple past and past participle gobbeted)

  1. (transitive) To splash with small quantities of liquid; to spatter.
    • 1972, Hugh Atkinson, The Most Savage Animal[3], page 242:
      The bullets that hit him [] burst the bared head into splinters. Scalp, bones and brain gobbeted the jeep as the dead boy screwed and fell sideways.
  2. (transitive) To swallow greedily; to swallow in gobbets.


  1. ^ “gobbet” in the Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, 1974 edition.