Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bob n.3

[bobstick n.]

1. a spirituous liquor, e.g. gin, rum, i.e. a shilling’s (5p) worth.

Humours of the Fleet quoted in Ashton Fleet 286: H’ had strain’d his credit for a dram of bob .
[UK]York Herald 17 Mar. 2/4: He then said he would give her 13s. if she would be [sic] a Bob (a shilling’s worth of Rum) to come in .
[Scot]Dundee Courier (Scot.) 25 Mar, 7/5: Who’s going to stand bobs round?

2. a shilling (5p); thus attrib.

[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 279: That, says the fighting jade, I’ll do, / Tho’ it should prove a bob or two.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 2 Dec. 33/1: I asked him what sort [of coins] he made; I believe I termed them bobs and half-bulls, (that is shillings and half-crowns), that is the flash-name of them.
[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK] ‘Hackney Coachman’ in C. Hindley James Catnach (1878) 197: For every sich job charged two bob and a kick.
[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist (1966) 101: I’m at low-water mark myself — only one bob and a magpie.
[UK] ‘Wanted A Woman!’ in Nobby Songster 26: My friends are me advising / To spend a bob or two / In the way of advertising.
[US]Flash (NY) 3 July n.p.: He had always a few ‘bob’ on hand.
[Aus]Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) 11 Feb. 1/2: Old Pooll must forward his six bob [...] Subscribers only are allowed to scribble for our pages.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Adventures of Mr Verdant Green (1982) II 143: Find the value of a ‘bob’, a ‘tanner’, a ‘joey’ and a ‘tizzy’.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 468/1: I cries eight a bob when I sees people as I thinks is likely to like slang; to others I cries eight a shilling.
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 237: He would palm upon him [...] a tanner, a bob, or half a bull, according to what coin he gave to be changed.
[UK] ‘Blooming Aesthetic’ in Rag 30 Sept. n.p.: On-the-kerb-come-a-cropper, / Run-in-by-a-copper, / ‘Fined-forty-bob’.
[UK]Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 10 May11/1: My humble bob and tanner.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Squatter, Three Cornstalks, and the Well’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 72: And so they started willing-lee / At five-and-twenty bob a day.
[UK]E. Pugh Man of Straw 9: The wife of one of your kind gave me a shilling – what you call in your full-blooded way ‘the nimble bob!’.
[UK][perf. Kate Carney] The Absent-Minded Bounder 🎵 ’E took me bloomin’ last bob - but ’e never took the King’s .
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 119: The last time we were out together I lent the beggar five bob!
[UK]Harrington & LeBrunn [perf. Marie Lloyd] You’re a thing of the past, old dear 🎵 Yus, and in between my sobs, I goes searching for the bobs.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 20 July 14/2: They Say [...] That Clarence D. will be seen with the bob punters at the National meeting.
[UK]C. Holme Lonely Plough (1931) 71: Two bob entrance, grub provided.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 99: Martin is going to get up a whip for the youngsters, Ned Lambert said, pointing ahead. A few bob a skull. Just to keep them going till the insurance is cleared up.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Final Count 811: If you’d like to ’ave five bob or ’alf a Bradbury on a’orse [...] ’e can arrange it for yer.
C. Drew ‘Buckled’ in Bulletin 29 May 48/3: ‘You couldn’t sell them the Russian Crown jewels for a brace of lead two bobs’.
[UK]G. Kersh Night and the City 36: Was he wearing a little-tiny ruby-and-diamond tiepin, worth, maybe, fifteen bob.
[UK]S. Jackson An Indiscreet Guide to Soho 30: I got a room in Frith Street. Fifteen bob a week.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Borstal Boy 148: Shoving a bleedin’ messenger boy’s bicycle about [...] for ten bob a week.
[UK]C. MacInnes Absolute Beginners 50: I just can’t bear paying more than a bob or two to landlords.
[Aus]R.S. Close With Hooves of Brass 143: A couple of games for bob stakes would either see her cleaned out or get her out of the blue.
[UK]F. Norman Guntz 6: I had bought a packet on the train coming up with two bob.
[UK]Sun. Times Mag. 12 Oct. 32: There’d be a couple of bob short in me wages.
[UK]B. Chatwin Songlines 275: You can usually bum a bob off a Bishop.
[Ire]J. O’Connor Secret World of the Irish Male (1995) 43: I had spent every last bob on purchasing a large gin and tonic.
[Aus]J. Byrell Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers 278: [A]ll he has left in his wippy is one well-worn ten bob notes.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 25 Jan. 5: That vast outlay – ten bob – bought me a brand-new copy.
[Ire]L. McInerney Blood Miracles 19: [H]aving no bobs except what he could salvage from his father’s benefits.

3. (UK und.) a counterfeit shilling.

[UK]York Herald 17 Mar. 2/4: Witnes then asked her if she had any Bobs or Shans; she said yes [...] and returned with four parcels of bad money.

4. money in general; esp. as a few bob.

[UK]‘Love in a Watch Box’ in Fal-Lal Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 11: They met with a Charley, ‘Old boy, here’s bob / If in your box you’ll let’s do a job’.
[US]J.R. Lowell Biglow Papers (1880) xxix: To delay attaching the bobs until the second attempt at flying the kite would indicate but a slender experience of that useful art.
[US]N.Y. Times 2 Aug. 3/8: The ‘boss,’ or madam looks on smilingly as the bar is patronized, or the ‘bob’ handed up by the male dancer.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Jan. 5/3: All my ‘sugar’ was done, and they offered me 2 to 1 in thousands. I took £500 to £200, being my last ‘bob,’ and looked upon it as finding the money.
[UK]G. Kersh Fowlers End (2001) 21: If ’e was short a few bob, all ’e did was write out a chit for torchlight batteries.
[UK]E. Bond Saved Scene vi: Drop ’er a few bob.
[US]J. Bouton Ball Four 163: The pitchers’ game is in full operation, and it’s been costing me a few bob.
[UK]Observer Mag. 14 May 13: He and a few of the lads had won themselves a few bob.
[UK]S. Berkoff West in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 126: I earned a few bob less.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 36: Made a few bob on the Mars though.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Real Life 16 Jan. 3: He’s not short of a bob or two.
[UK]K. Richards Life 109: We’ve got enough to live on, a few bob in case of emergencies.
[Ire]L. McInerney Glorious Heresies 23: ‘Do a job here for me and I’ll give you a few bob’.

5. (US) $1.

[US]D. Runyon ‘Dream Street Rose’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 48: The minute she gets a few bobs together she likes to go out and enjoy a little recreation.
[US]J.K. Butler ‘Saint in Silver’ in Goulart (1967) 61: A few bobs to raise before Pat Regan came snorting around.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Hart Failure’ in All Sports Aug. 🌐 I am a sappo for not risking a bob or two, as I can use some extra spinach.
E. Wilson Earl Wilson’s New York 33: Maybe you’re a middle-aged lady with a few bob to squander.
[US]C. Bukowski in Captain is Out to Lunch (1998) 65: Terrible day at the track, not so much in money lost, I may even have won a bob, but the feeling out there was horrible.

In derivatives

bobby (adj.)

(UK und.) counterfeit.

[UK]Illus. Police News 3 Apr. 14/1: Mr. Armstrong: Did you ever give him any bobby notes [...] The Magistrate: What are bobby notes? . Mr. Armstrong: The witness knows, sir snide notes. Your late respected colleague, Mr. Montagu Williams, used to have slang dictionary [...] I procured one, and found it very useful. A bobby note is a Bank of Engraving note.

In compounds

bob in (n.) (Aus./N.Z.)

1. the payment of a shilling (5p) into a common pot, esp. as used for buying drinks; also attrib.

W. Davidson Stories of N.Z. Life 5: From tricks at cards, the fun changed to ‘a bob in’ the winner shouting.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 21 Dec. 13/3: The ‘shouting’ custom calls for limitation – yet its total abolition, and the consequent sad spectacle of everybody paying for his own liquor and ‘drinking with the flies’ in a lonesome and speechless fashion is not wholly desirable either. If legislation could provide that when a certain number of friends meet, it shall be illegal for them all to shout, but that a ‘bob in’ shall be permissible, it might perhaps meet the case.
Smith’s Weekly (Sydney) 15 Mar. 14/3: Forty of them gathered him up and made for the bar. ‘A bob in’ was suggested [...] After paying for the shout he salvaged a whole quid [AND].
Smith’s Weekly (Sydney) 21 Jan. 17/4: Blinks rang me to apologise for his non-attendance at the Bob-in school [AND].
[Aus] Bulletin (Sydney) 28 June 36/3: What say we rig a few bob-ins for the poor cow?
Coast to Coast 1948 104: ‘Have this with me.’ Buzzer and Tiger had it with Blue; then there was a bob-in; then they had one with Chrissie who’d been pulling beer at the Exchange since they were kids [AND].
[Aus]T. Ronan Vision Splendid 117: Being in it meant gin slings before breakfast [...] bridge or poker at night with ‘wet’ two-bob-ins after every couple of hands.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Feb. 7/1: A ‘bob-in’ testimonial opened by the ‘Couder-Mail’ [...] raised a total of over £500.
[UK]L. Hadow Full Cycle 232: Then there was a bob-in; then they had one with Chrissie who’d been pulling beer at the Exchange since they were kids.

2. (Aus.) a dicing game in which all players contribute a shilling (5p); the winner then buys the round of drinks.

[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 12 July 4/6: A dozen youths engaged in the absorbing game of a ‘bob in,’ the highest thrower (of tho dice) to win the pool .
Northam Advertiser (WA) 17 Mar. 2/7: He could not say how much money he spent in drinks. He may have made one in a game of ‘a bob in the hat,’ but did not recollect the game at all.
[Aus]Dly News (Perth) 4 Apr. 5/1: The re-licensing of the hotel at Nedlands will bring about one result for sure. Certain well-known forms of salutation between the residents will return to every day use [...] the innocuous game of ‘bob in’ will doubtless be revived.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang.
bob-in (n.)

(N.Z.) a collection of money (nominally a shilling per head), e.g. to pay for drinks.

[NZ]N.Z. Observer and Free Lance (Auckland) 20 Mar. 23/1: That Tradesmen’s Athletic meeting was a regular dry hash [...] but the members made up for that by having a ‘bob in’ after.

In phrases

bob a nob (n.) [nob n.1 (1)]

one shilling each person, used when estimating the cost of meals, outings, tickets etc; also attrib., with sesne of second-rate (see cite 1894).

[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc.
[UK]Staffs. Advertiser 12 Apr. 3/3: Thousands, who at a price of five bob a nob (readily forked out) took their station [...] in order to have their share of the pleasures of the mill.
[UK]Bell’s Life in London 14 Feb. 3/4: The fight took place on Tuesday [...] where an inner and outer ring were formed [...] at two ‘bob’ a ‘nob’ for admission.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 1 Feb 2/6: Two bob a nob to Sydney and no mistake .
[UK]Bell’s Life in London 15 Feb. 2/1: [advert] Sumptuous Masquerade and Carnival [...] Only 1s each — only a bob a nob.
[UK]Yokel’s Preceptor 8: The Swiss Giantess [...] is the same doxy who was exhibited at a bob-a-nob in Leicester Square.
[UK]Liverpool Dly Press 11 Apr. 5/6: Other gentlemen are allowed to jump at a bob a nob.
[UK]Birmingham Dly Gaz. 1 Dec. 8/3: Of pedestrians who paid their ‘bob a nob’ for admission there must have been thousands.
[UK]H. King Savage London 39: The newly-married pair dined sumptuously in a booth at ‘a bob a nob’.
[UK]Sporting Times 1 Feb. 6/3: Yesterday the Press were invited to see the celebrated picture, ‘The Two Pearls,’ which a syndicate starts exhibiting to the Great British Public at a ‘bob a nob’ this very day.
[UK]London Eve. Standard 7 Sept. 3/3: The public launch, filled with what I have heard called ‘A bob-a-nob mob’ is [...] a disgrace to the river.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 53: Nob, the head (pugilistic); ‘bob a nob,’ a shilling a head.
[UK]Binstead & Wells A Pink ’Un and a Pelican 19: You’ll see scores of shandrydans carry passengers at two-bob-a-nob.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 4 Nov. 4/7: We paid a bob a nob to listen to him.
[UK]J.B. Booth Sporting Times 141: The said little Jew boy and his chocolate engulfing little friend were genuine dramatic critics at a bob a nob.
royal bob (n.)


[UK]A. Blunt ‘Geneva’ in Tovey Brit. & Foreign Spirits (1864) 68: Well from thee may it assume The glorious modern name of Royal Bob .
Chatterton Poetical Works (1864) 333: Alas! it was a person whose twang is very well known, when she is awake, but who had drunk so much royal-bob [...] that she was now singing herself asleep .
the shiny bob (also just the shiny (shilling))

(Aus.) usu. preceded by just..., a general phr. of approval.

[Aus]Albury Banner (NSW) 19 Oct. 25/1: The gloves you sent me were just the ‘shiny shilling’.
[Aus]Western Champion (Barcaldine) 26 Feb. 9/2: Here, however, in a paddock abutting the lane, which ran up to railway gates, was a patch of good barley grass of some six acres in extent, and in the fence a slip-panel leading out of the lane into it. ‘Just the shiny bob’, remarked the loquacious Bardy .
[Aus]Brisbane Courier 29 May 6/3: ‘Just the glassy marble’ [...] ‘Just the glassy alley,’ ‘Just the juicy chop,’ ‘Just the blob,’ ‘Just the shiny shilling,’ ‘Just the plonk’ are only a few of its offshoots.
[Aus] Sydney Wool & Stock Jrnl 6 May 13/4: [advert] The ‘1909 MODEL’ Monkey Jack arrived all right, and does all that is claimed for him. We pulled up a large stump, and pushed down four trees, the largest 2ft. 6in. through, in hour and [a] half. ‘Just the shiny Bob.’ (Signed) R. SIM, Junr .
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 21 Feb. 10/4: Jack T. looks the shiny bob in his red and black uniform .
[Aus]Aussie (Sydney) Nov. 23/2: The real and compleat Cobber is very rare, like most good things, but he is ‘just the shiny’ when you’ve got him.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 19 June 11/5: ‘How’s the good old ‘Sport’ this fine and large morning? Just the shiny bob?’.