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

Definition of bobby


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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 piece also came enclosed in a silk zippered case alongside two bobby pins and two elastic bands. Angela Trakoshis, Allure, 27 Apr. 2022 This concept is also exemplified by the Nia Bobby Pin chains, which find single bobby pins accented with long crystal chains. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, 9 Mar. 2022 Forego traditional bobby pins and add one of these faux succulent hair accessories to your collection. Carly Kulzer, Better Homes & Gardens, 31 Aug. 2021 Secure one sock at the top of your head with a claw clip or bobby pins. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 25 May 2021 Sometimes bobby pins don't cut it to upgrade your day-two hair. Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, 11 Dec. 2020 To pick the lock, use your bobby-pin pick to push up the pins, one at a time, until the cylinder is free to turn. Kevin Dupzyk And Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 18 Nov. 2020 These colorful acrylic bobby pins can be added to so many styles. Andrea Jordan, Better Homes & Gardens, 23 June 2020 What about like a bobby-pin situation on men’s hair? Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 26 May 2020 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near bobby

bobblehead doll


bobby calf

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Last Updated

6 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bobby.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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


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