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Just exactly what is a bibs and a bobs? And where the heck did that expression come from, anyway?

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5  
Do you mean "bits and bobs"? –  Steve Melnikoff Nov 11 '10 at 16:46
    
I think both terms are in use?!? –  vonjd Nov 11 '10 at 18:14
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Google/BNC: "bits and bobs" 3.6M/47, "bibs and bobs" 80k/1. Partridge only mentions "bits and bobs" — twice, actually —, but doesn't provide etymology. Several theories can be found here. –  RegDwigнt Nov 11 '10 at 19:12

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I believe the original version of this idiom is "bits and bobs".

It means the same as "odds and ends", which means "bits and pieces, remnants, leftovers". A "bit" was a coin (three-penny bit) and a "bob" was a shilling or twelve pence.

Wiktionary has a page for bits and bobs as well.

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Cultural aside: in the UK (at least), you also sometimes hear "odds and sods" (not to be used in ultra-polite company). –  Benjol Jan 6 '11 at 9:25

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