bob·​by | \ ˈbä-bē How to pronounce bobby (audio) \
plural bobbies

Definition of bobby


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Synonyms for bobby


bull [slang], constable [chiefly British], cop, copper, flatfoot [slang], fuzz, gendarme, lawman, officer, police officer, policeman, shamus [slang]

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A nickname for a British policeman is a bobby, after Sir Robert (Bobby) Peel, who founded Britain’s Metropolitan Police Force in 1829, provoking complaints about the infringement of civil liberties. The first patrolmen wore a blue uniform (to distinguish them from the military who wore red) with a top hat. They also carried a 20-in (51-cm) truncheon (club) for protection, and a rattle for attracting attention—rattles were replaced with whistles in 1886, after experiments showed that whistles could be heard from a much greater distance. The first two bobbies—William Atkinson and William Alcock, holders of Warrants Number one and two— were fired on the first and second day of the force’s existence for being drunk.

Examples of bobby in a Sentence

a bobby on his beat asked a passing London bobby for directions

Recent Examples on the Web

The 65-year-old actor plays Moose, a childlike man who appears to eke out a living as a Hollywood street performer, portraying a mustachioed British bobby on the sidewalks of Tinseltown, collecting tips from tourists. Michael O'sullivan,, "’The Fanatic’ review: As an obsessed movie fan, John Travolta goes all out," 27 Aug. 2019 What’s missing are images of the bobby-socks crowd. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Today: Trump backs down on tariffs, ‘just in case’," 14 Aug. 2019 The bobbies in Glasgow had been watching Slater for months. The Economist, "When Arthur Conan Doyle cried “J’Accuse…!”," 7 July 2018 Sentimental buccaneers and bumbling bobbies will share the stage with an eccentric major general. Tom Titus,, "On Theater: Vanguard University schedules shows for summer and its 2018-19 season," 31 May 2018 Vic Damone, the postwar crooner whose intimate, rhapsodic voice captivated bobby soxers, middle-age dreamers and silver-haired romantics in a five-decade medley of America’s love songs and popular standards, died on Sunday in Miami Beach. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "Vic Damone, Who Crooned His Way to Postwar Popularity, Dies at 89," 12 Feb. 2018 Enter Lilla Rose, founded in 2008, which offers fun and functional hair clips, pins, bobbies, hairbands, and hair sticks. Arricca Sansone, Woman's Day, "8 of the Best Direct Selling Companies to Earn Extra Cash," 24 June 2017 Pankhurst and her fellow activists were known for their militant tactics, such as smashing windows and assaulting police officers, so the chances of us seeing Meryl sock a bobby are pretty high. Chelsea Peng, Marie Claire, "Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan Are Badass, Rock-Throwing Feminists in 'Suffragette'," 3 June 2015 Why does bobby treat Lamar, a Ferrari, like a Prius? Jake Lourim, The Courier-Journal, "Mailbag: On Lamar Jackson, Bobby Petrino's future and 1980s movies," 1 Nov. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bobby.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bobby

1839, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bobby

Bobby, nickname for Robert, after Sir Robert Peel, who organized the London police force

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Statistics for bobby

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for bobby

The first known use of bobby was in 1839

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More from Merriam-Webster on bobby

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bobby

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bobby

Britannica English: Translation of bobby for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bobby

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concealment of treason or felony

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