History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

12 November 2013

Oh, the things you'll lean on Twitter

Sometimes I really don't want to lean "the truth". Sometimes I just want to cling to my mistakes and deny reality. This is one of those times.

Much to my horror (and that of the brilliant Mary Robinette Kowal), "fob" appears to have meant WATCH POCKET during the Georgian/Regency period rather than the dangly decoration on the other end of the watch chain.

Fobs play a pretty major roll in my first book (LORD SIN), so I was HORRIFIED!!! It would never in a million years have occurred to me to look up FOB in the OED. This is the kind of thing that happens to everyone one, and since I rail about accuracy all the time, I like to admit my mistakes and try to help others from repeating them.

So here we go, from the OED:

1. A small pocket formerly made in the waistband of the breeches and used for carrying a watch, money, or other valuables.
a1652   R. Brome Court Begger ii. i. sig. P2v, in Five New Playes (1653) ,   My Fob has been fubd to day of six pieces.
1667   St. Papers, Dom. CXCI. No. 63. ii,   The right side pockett..and the small pockett or fobb.
a1687   C. Cotton Poet. Wks. (1765) 133   And brought his Gods away in 's Phob.
1711   J. Addison Spectator No. 77. ¶1,   I saw him..squirr away his Watch..into the Thames, and..put up the Pebble, he had before found, in his Fob.
1751   T. Smollett Peregrine Pickle III. xci. 274   The..young gentleman, with an hand in each fob, stood whistling an opera-tune.
1819   T. Moore Tom Crib's Memorial to Congress 6   Whether diddling your subjects, and gutting their fobs.
1839   Dickens Nicholas Nickleby iii. 14   Mr. Nickleby replaced his watch in his fob.
2. U.S. = fob-chain n. at Compounds 2.
1889   M. Hatton-Ripley From Flag to Flag xxiv. 211   The tempting fob that hung from his pocket.
1893   J. S. Farmer Slang,   Fob..a watch chain or ribbon, with buckle and seals, worn hanging from the fob.
A small decorative or functional object attached to a chain or strap hanging from a pocket; (later also) = key fob n. at key n.1 and adj. Compounds 3.
1888   Hampshire Tel. 1 Sept. 9/7   The bride gave each bridesmaid a gold medallion bearing the date of the marriage, and combined monogram, which was worn like a fob, attached to a black watered ribbon.
1913   Railroad Telegrapher Aug. 1356/1   A number of the boys..presented me with a beautiful solid gold fob, engraved with the monogram, ‘O. R. T.’
I shall now weep in a corner.


Blogger Joanna Waugh said...

Mortifying, to be sure, but oh so interesting to discover that the meaning of "fob" could change so dramatically.

7:00 AM  
Blogger Isobel Carr said...

I've given up being mortified and just moved to acceptance. Finding out about past mistakes is a basic side effect of on-going research. Still debating how to fix it when I get the rights back ...

2:57 PM  
Blogger Rappleyea said...

That is one crowded crying corner! There must be thousands of Georgian and Regency books typically depicting the fops and dandies as being overly burdened with fobs.

How very interesting it is to learn this. But my question then is this - did fops and dandies not wear anything dangling from their watch chains? And if so, what were those danglies called if not fobs?

1:11 PM  

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