verb (used with object), fobbed, fob·bing.

  1. Archaic. to cheat; deceive.

Verb Phrases

  1. fob off,
    1. to cheat someone by substituting something spurious or inferior; palm off (often followed by on): He tried to fob off an inferior brand on us.
    2. to put (someone) off by deception or trickery: She fobbed us off with false promises.


  1. a chain or ribbon by which a pocket watch is attached to a waistcoat
  2. any ornament hung on such a chain
  3. a small pocket in a man’s waistcoat, for holding a watch
  4. a metal or plastic tab on a key ring

verb fobs, fobbing or fobbed

  1. an archaic word for cheat


  1. NZ slang a Pacific Islander who has newly arrived in New Zealand

1650s, “small pocket for valuables,” probably related to Low German fobke “pocket,” High German fuppe “pocket,” “a dialectal word used in Livonia” [Klein]. Meaning “chain attached to a watch carried in the fob” is from 1885.


“to cheat,” late 14c., from obsolete noun fobbe “cheat, trickster” (late 14c.), perhaps from Old French forbe “cheat” [OED]. Alternative etymology holds that the word is perhaps related to German foppen “to jeer at, make a fool of” (see fop); or from German fuppen, einfuppen “to pocket stealthily,” which would connect it to fob (n.). To fob (someone) off is first recorded 1590s. Related: Fobbed; fobbing.

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