[lit-ideas] Bob's Your Uncle (Was: The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury)

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 4 May 2004 16:11:25 EDT

D. Ritchie writes:
I levered in the phrase, "Bob's your uncle," meaning "a solution simply
achieved," often used ironically, because I read yesterday that its popular
use dates from the rise to power of Arthur James Balfour, he of the Balfour
declaration.  It was a meteoric rise to power helped in some measure by
"Bob," his uncle, Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of
Interesting. The OED provides no etymology, 
     Bob's (bob's) your uncle: everything is all right. 

and three quotes -- below. Spender's description of the expression as a 
'cockney' phrase suggests it may be a vestige of 'truncated' [Cockney] 




 1937 in PARTRIDGE Dict. Slang (ed. 2) 981/2. 

1946 S. SPENDER Europ. Witness 143 
He mixes up phrases such as â??Oh boy, oh boyâ??, with cockney such as â??

1949 â??N. BLAKEâ?? Head of Traveller iv. 60 
Three curves and a twiddle, label it â??Objectâ??, and bob's your uncle.

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