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Fob

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Fob

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:01 am

• fob •


Pronunciation: fahb • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, Verb

Meaning: 1. (Noun) A cheat, con artist, or generally deceitful person. 2. (Noun) A very small pocket usually located in the waistband of a pair of trousers for carrying such valuables as money or a pocket watch. 3. (Noun) The chain or tag attached to a small, valuable object like a watch or keys. 4. (Verb) To con, cheat, swindle, usually used with off, that is, to fob off.

Notes: I am old enough to remember my father, uncles and grandfather carrying a large pocket watch on a chain in their fob pocket. Few clothing manufacturers even install fob pockets these days. A half century ago, however, the father's pocket watch and its fob were a deeply sentimental part of his eldest son's inheritance. My father's is hanging beneath a glass bell right in front of me as I write up today's Good Word. As a verb, the word has retained its original meaning, referring to some kind of swindle.

In Play: The fob and fob pocket are remembered by a dwindling number of senior citizens: "Since some fob in Queensley picked Kingsley's pocket, he keeps his large bills in a fob pocket only he knows the location of." The verbal sense of this word, however, still works even for the younger generation: "Beardsley tried to fob off on me a case of California wine as French. Fortunately, I knew France had no province called 'Sonoma'."

Word History: Today's Good Word is of Germanic origin, related to German foppen "to fool, play a prank". This gave rise to the noun, referring to someone sneaky. This meaning was passed on to the fob pocket since it was originally a sneaky (fobproof) pocket used to hide money and other valuables. A fob chain was used to more easily pull valuables from the fob pocket, which is very small and tight, especially if sewn into the waistband of a pair of trousers. Today we add small fobs to our keychains. (Today we should thank Amy Frits again, this time for reminding us of fob with her recent suggestion of fop as a Good Word.)
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Re: Fob

Postby MTC » Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:38 am

For the "fobbish," if not foppish, here's a list of references to "fob" in Dickens:

Martin Chuzzlewit - Chapter 19
and, a massive gold watch-chain dangling from his fob, and a face in which a queer attempt at melancholy

David Copperfield - Chapter 13
oat, and white trousers; and had his watch in his fob, and his money in his pockets: which he rattled

Dombey and Son - Chapter 4
his forehead, and a tremendous chronometer in his fob, rather than doubt which precious possession,

Master Humphrey's Clock - Chapter 5
and with extreme difficulty drew from his fob an immense double-cased silver watch, which

Nicholas Nickleby - Chapter 3
of sorrow, mr nickleby replaced his watch in his fob, and, fittingon his gloves to a nicety,

Oliver Twist - Chapter 26
," replied the man, drawing a gold watch from his fob; "i expected him here before now. if you'll wait

The Pickwick Papers - Chapter 28
afoot and a quarter, and a gold watch in his fob pocket as wasworth--i'm afraid to say how

(http://www.online-literature.com/authorsearch.php)

Not one reference to "fob" as a cheat, something I expected more of given Fagin, et al. Still, it's clear Dickens was "fobbish."
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Re: Fob

Postby David Myer » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:43 am

Not surprised you don't find the 'cheat' sense in Dickens. I wonder if it is used in that sense anywhere by English people? I suspect it may be another use that is peculiar to North America. In England and Australia, if someone we don't like seeks an invitation to our party, we fob them off with an excuse - "Sorry we already have seventeen people coming and we have only seventeen chairs so you can't come this time." I suppose there is an element of cheating there - or at least of deceit. It's usually a lie we fob them off with; rather more than an excuse.
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Re: Fob

Postby David McWethy » Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:42 pm

In our family there is a pocket watch that was purchased new in 1806--thirty years after the Revolutionary War.

Sometime between then and now it stopped working, and I suspect that the number of watchmakers who could restore it (at a price anyone in my family could afford) could be enumerated with the fingers of one finger.

The most significant thing about it is that someone had the foresight to record the dates of its passage from father to son, complete with the names of those involved, through--if memory serves--seven generations before me.

I write that it's "in our family" instead of "I have" because I have no son to give it to, so it rests hanging in a bell jar in the home of my nephew.
"The time has come," the Walrus said, "to talk of many things...."
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Re: Fob

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:57 pm

my great-grandfahers watch is on my desk as well, Doc.
Inscribed 1896 as he gave it to his son, my grandfather,
whence it skipped a generation and came to me.

Levi's used to have the pocket as well on the right side,
alas.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: Fob

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:54 pm

Most bluejeans that I wear have that extra pocket above the deep pocket on the right side. For me it has always been
the coin pocket rather than a watchpocket.
pl
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Re: Fob

Postby Slava » Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:02 pm

I've always thought of the fob pocket as being in the vest of a suit. Usually one on each side.

I agree that the one in jeans is a change pocket, but often enough they are too deep to get into with ease. :(
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Re: Fob

Postby David McWethy » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:25 pm

Slava notes that fob pockets in jeans are

often...too deep to get into with ease.


But that makes them just the right size to slip the house/car keys into, with the slit-opening sealing tightly closed behind them. And where they will remain--undetected--until I, seething in frustration at not being able to find them, have duplicates made of the spare set.

Then and only then will I feel the lump in my jeans when I trade them for pajamas.
Last edited by David McWethy on Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fob

Postby MTC » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:21 pm

A History of the Watch Fob with Pretty Pictures
http://linkinglivesnyc.wordpress.com/hi ... watch-fob/

Panjandrum's log, stardate 2013.2: Passed seamlessly into the august ranks of the Grand Panjandrums without notice, pomp, or ceremony.
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Re: Fob

Postby David Myer » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:56 pm

Congratulations MTC. Ensuring the occasion will not pass entirely without ceremony, I will tonight enjoy a glass of red in acknowledgement. Good health.
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Re: Fob

Postby gailr » Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:07 pm

MTC:

Please accept this modest token of Grand Panjandrumhood. One will note that it boasts both Arabic and Roman numerals, in a nod to the interesting cultural passages of one's favorite words. It is a digital image of an analog piece, further symbolizing the digital space of the venerable Agora itself. It also features a handsome crown and a bunch of nifty ornaments and complications, with intricate layers of supporting springs, gears, and, no doubt, a handy escapement.

*shakes MTC's hand solemnly*
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Re: Fob

Postby MTC » Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:51 pm

Thanks, David and Gailr. I am truly shaken, by the hand and otherwise. Will promptly put my ceremonial watch in a cyber fob for safekeeping. An 'unble bow with a flourish in acknowledgement.

Drinks on the house! :D
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Re: Fob

Postby call_copse » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:08 am

Congratulations MTC, I'll always review your posts for interesting material.

If anyone is interested here is an interesting pictorial account of construction of a steampunk pocket or fob watch:
http://www.jarkman.co.uk/catalog/cnc/skeletonwatch.htm

Re:Fob, most commonly used in the 'make excuse' sense here that David M suggests - to me I'd say slightly lighter than con or indeed lie, perhaps dissemble.
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Re: Fob

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:56 pm

Congratulations, from me as well.
For what it is worth my grandfather kept his
pocket watch in the'coin pocket' you all mention.
This when he was out working. He was a big man
and so his denims were large enough to hold it.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: Fob

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:14 pm

Welcome to the GP world MTC! So far it hasn't hurt me, nor cured me of paronomasia, nor of carefully examining each split infinitive I meet was to whether it could be better stated otherwise. Actually, I noticed your nearing the odometer mark intending to raise the hue and cry, but neglected to follow through. Another stone laid on the road of good intentions...
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