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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
    • 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.
  3. an extract of text, or image (especially a quotation), provided as a context for analysis, translation or discussion 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.
    • 2018 January 22 (last accessed) “New Exam Format”, in American History at Glasgow University[3]:
      Sections B and C are known as Examination Gobbets. A Gobbet is a short documentary extract, image or other historical source that has been selected to illustrate a particular theme.


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[4], 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.