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In some British private schools the phrase "dob the pill" is a request that someone should throw the ball to you. The Internet is almost completely silent on this phrase with the only use I can find in the first comment at http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sport/afl/pieces-of-the-power-puzzle/story-fn83zjlm-1226049635520 where it says "With his build Ebert would be a better back pocket where he could dob the pill deep over centre.".

What is the origin of this phrase?

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It's not a phrase but informal English. According to the ODE, "dob" means:

ORIGIN 1950s: figurative use of dialect dob ‘put down abruptly’, later ‘throw something at a target’.

And pill, according to the same source, means

3 informal, dated (in some sports) a humorous term for a ball.

Now if put together, it'd simply mean throw the ball.

  • "dob" is apparently from "dab" as in "1772 G. Washington in Mag. Amer. Hist. May (1884) 71 They [clothes] will be..dabbed about, in every hole and corner." – felix Feb 9 '14 at 10:37
  • "pill" meaning ball has this quotation "1896 Westm. Gaz. 28 Oct. 1/3 We can play pills then till lunch, you know." – felix Feb 9 '14 at 10:39
  • It sounds the sort of language (I've never heard this particular one) that is cultivated in public schools so that posh kids can give expression to their social status, a bit like joining the Bullingdon Club. – WS2 Feb 9 '14 at 10:54
  • @WS2 It's more likely that idiosyncratic and strange sounding language is a feature of being isolated in a boarding school. It would be interesting to see what phrases the state boarding schools of the UK have developed. – felix Feb 9 '14 at 11:00
  • @felix Yes, good point. Could look at prisons as well. They have their own lingo, and bear a lot in common with boarding schools, I feel sure. – WS2 Feb 9 '14 at 11:11

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