from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A corncob: corn on the cob.
  • n. A male swan.
  • n. A thickset, stocky, short-legged horse.
  • n. A small lump or mass, as of coal.
  • n. A mixture of clay and straw used as a building material.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A male swan.
  • n. A corncob.
  • n. A round, often crusty roll or loaf of bread.
  • n. Short for cobnut.
  • n. A building material consisting of clay, sand, straw, water, and earth, similar to adobe; also called cobb, rammed earth or pisé.
  • n. A horse having a stout body and short legs.
  • n. A gull.
  • n. Any of the gold and silver coins that were minted in the Spanish Empire and valued in reales or escudos, such as the piece of eight—especially those which were crudely struck and irregularly shaped.
  • n. One who is eminent, great, large, or rich.
  • n. The head of a herring.
  • v. this sense?) To construct using mud blocks or to seal a wall using mud or an artificial equivalent.
  • abbr. Abbreviation of cobble.
  • Alternative form of COB.
  • v. To beat with a flat instrument; to paddle.
  • v. To throw, chuck, lob.
  • v. To chip off unwanted pieces of stone, so as to form a desired shape or improve the quality of mineral ore.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The top or head of anything.
  • n. A leader or chief; a conspicuous person, esp. a rich covetous person.
  • n. The axis on which the kernels of maize or indian corn grow.
  • n. A spider; perhaps from its shape; it being round like a head.
  • n. A young herring.
  • n. A fish; -- also called miller's thumb.
  • n. A short-legged and stout horse, esp. one used for the saddle.
  • n. A sea mew or gull; esp., the black-backed gull (Larus marinus).
  • n. A lump or piece of anything, usually of a somewhat large size, as of coal, or stone.
  • n. A cobnut. See Cobnut.
  • n. Clay mixed with straw.
  • n. A punishment consisting of blows inflictod on tho buttocas with a strap or a flat piece of wood.
  • n. A Spanish coin formerly current in Ireland, worth abiut 4s. 6d.
  • transitive v. To strike.
  • transitive v. To break into small pieces, as ore, so as to sort out its better portions.
  • transitive v. To punish by striking on the buttocks with a strap, a flat piece of wood, or the like.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To strike; knock; beat on the buttocks with the knee, or with a board or strap.
  • In mining, to break (ore) into small fragments with a hammer, in the process of dressing it for the smelter.
  • To excel; outdo; beat.
  • To throw.
  • To fight.
  • Also spelled cobb.
  • n. The top; the head; the poll.
  • n. A head man; a prominent or chief person; a leader or chief.
  • n. A wealthy man; especially, one who makes a vulgar use or display of his wealth; a rich and vulgar man; a chuff.
  • n. A roundish lump.
  • n. A small haystack; a haycock.
  • n. An ear of wheat. See cob-poke.
  • n. The cylindrical shoot or receptacle, in the form of a spike, on which the grains of maize or Indian corn grow in rows; a corn-cob (which see).
  • n. A young herring.
  • n. A fish, the bullhead or miller's-thumb.
  • n. The common clam, Mya arenaria.
  • n. A Spanish dollar: a name formerly in use in Ireland, and still at Gibraltar.
  • n. A compost of puddled clay and straw, or of straw, lime, and earth.
  • n. In coal-mining, a small solid pillar of coal left in a waste as a support for the roof.
  • n. Clover-seed.
  • n. A strong, thick-set, pony-built horse, capable of carrying a heavy weight at a good pace. Also cob-horse.
  • n. A kind of wicker basket made to be carried on the arm; specifically, one used for carrying seed while sowing.
  • n. The great black-backed gull, Larus marinus. Also spelled cobb.
  • n. A sort of short breakwater.
  • n. A blow on the buttocks with the knee, or with a strap or board; a punishment consisting of such blows. Also spelled cobb.
  • n. . In pharm., a cylindrical mass of crystals of lactose (sugar of milk) formed upon a stick or cord.
  • n. Tn horticulture, a kind of filbert characterized by a short rounded nut borne in short open husks. The longer nuts, in long husks, are known as true filberts.
  • n. Any of the larger gulls, but more particularly the black-backed gull, Larus marinus.
  • n. In the United States the standard for a cob is some what larger than in England, a typical cob standing about 15 hands high and weighing from 1,000 to 1,050 pounds. A cob is smoother and more compact than a coacher and has shorter legs.
  • n. Same as cobswan.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. adult male swan
  • n. white gull having a black back and wings
  • n. nut of any of several trees of the genus Corylus
  • n. stocky short-legged harness horse


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Probably from obsolete cob, round object, head, testicle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Uncertain. The word has many disparate senses, which are likely of diverse origin. The specifics of these origins have long been debated, as has the question of which senses arise from which origins. At least some senses likely originated as a variant of cop ("head"). In other senses, the word may be related to cub, itself of obscure origin but possibly from Old Norse kobbi ("seal"). However, many alternative etymologies have been proposed to account for some or all senses of cob; various sources have related it, for example, to English cot ("cottage"), Welsh cob ("top, tuft"), or German Kübel ("large container"). All these etymologies are disputed, and the exact origins of cob cannot be known with any certainty.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Uncertain. Possibly onomatopoeic, but it has also been suggested that the word could be a continuation of Middle English cobbe ("fight"), a borrowing of Welsh cob ("blow"), or a cognate of Icelandic kubba ("chop").



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  • cob as in round bread roll. A roll or barm etc elsewhere in the country.

    February 26, 2010

  • In business: close of business (day).

    April 8, 2009

  • From By Hook or By Crook by David Crystal: "Cob – or cobb, as it is sometimes spelled – is a curious word. It has a remarkable range of senses, some dating back to the fifteenth century. At one time or another it has referred to a well-built man, a type of gull, a herring, a male swan, a stout horse, and a spider (think of cobweb). Small haystacks, loaves of bread, certain types of nut, the tops of maize shoots, and even testicles have also been called cobs, as have Spanish dollars (the famous 'pieces of eight'), lumps of building material for walls, and small rounded stones for roadways, more commonly called cobble stones." (p 36)

    And: "To give someone a cob can mean to hit them. To have a cob on is to be in a bad mood. To get a cob on is to become sulky." (p 37)

    December 15, 2008

  • "My eyes, I know, shone divinely as I watched Captain Slogger Dennehy of the Inniskillings win the final chukkar on his darling cob Centaur."

    Joyce, Ulysses, 15

    February 8, 2007