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I read this sentence: "In all his writing (and, apparently, conversation) [Roy] Jenkins loved reputation-bibbing, loved all kinds of ranking, especially of politicians."

What does "reputation-bibbing" mean?

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Presumably a kind of addiction, by analogy with wine-bibbing, to assessing and possibly messing with people’s reputations. For an excellent theatrical study of such an addiction, I recommend Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The School for Scandal (1777).

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  • The full OED definition for to bib is To drink; keep on drinking, tipple, and where bibbing is preceded by a noun it's often some kind of alcoholic drink (but there are plenty of instances of blood-bibbing in Google Books). Since the "core" meaning obviously implies "consuming with gusto / relish", I think we can probably assume the intended sense is that Roy Jenkins liked name-dropping (attempting to enhance one's own reputation by interacting with and talking about other "famous" people). Dec 27, 2023 at 18:34

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