bob

1 of 7

verb (1)

bobbed; bobbing

transitive verb

1
: to strike with a quick light blow : rap
2
: to move up and down in a short quick movement
bob the head
3
: to polish with a bob : buff

intransitive verb

1
a
: to move up and down briefly or repeatedly
b
: to emerge, arise, or appear suddenly or unexpectedly
2
: to nod or curtsy briefly
3
: to try to seize a suspended or floating object with the teeth

bob

2 of 7

noun (1)

1
a
: a short quick down-and-up motion
b
Scotland : any of several folk dances
2
obsolete : a blow or tap especially with the fist
3
a
: a modification of the order in change ringing
b
: a method of change ringing using a bob
4
: a small polishing wheel of solid felt or leather with rounded edges

bob

3 of 7

verb (2)

bobbed; bobbing

transitive verb

1
obsolete : deceive, cheat
2
obsolete : to take by fraud : filch

bob

4 of 7

noun (2)

1
a(1)
(2)
Scotland : nosegay
b
: a knob, knot, twist, or curl especially of ribbons, yarn, or hair
c
: a short haircut on a woman or child
2
3
: a hanging ball or weight (as on a plumb line)
4
: trifle sense 1
bits and bobs

bob

5 of 7

verb (3)

bobbed; bobbing

transitive verb

1
: to cut shorter : crop
bob a horse's tail
2
: to cut (hair) in the style of a bob

bob

6 of 7

noun (3)

plural bob
British slang

bob

7 of 7

noun (4)

Word History

Etymology

Verb (1)

Middle English boben

Verb (2)

Middle English bobben, from Old French bober

Noun (2)

Middle English bobbe

Noun (3)

perhaps from the name Bob

First Known Use

Verb (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (1)

circa 1550, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb (3)

1822, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

1789, in the meaning defined above

Noun (4)

1856, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bob was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near bob

Cite this Entry

“Bob.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bob. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

bob

1 of 4 verb
bobbed; bobbing
1
a
: to move or cause to move up and down in a short quick movement
bob the head
a cork bobbing in the water
b
: to appear suddenly or unexpectedly
may bob up anywhere
2
: to grasp or make a grab with the teeth
bob for apples

bob

2 of 4 noun
: a short jerky motion
a bob of the head

bob

3 of 4 noun
1
: a woman's or child's short haircut
2
: a weight hanging from a line
3

bob

4 of 4 verb
bobbed; bobbing
1
: to cut shorter : crop
2
: to cut (hair) in the style of a bob

More from Merriam-Webster on bob

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY