Bits And Bobs
First: many of us (🙋🏼♀️) are tempted to say “bibs and bobs,” but the expression – rooted in the UK – is bits and bobs. It’s a phrase that means this and that, a miscellany of small tasks, events, or things. Think about that teak apothecary chest at your favourite vintage store with eight rows of tiny drawers stuffed with, well, bits and bobs…wooden spinning tops, world fair buttons, mood rings, mini magic slates with their red plastic pencils locked in place.
How is it that we came to be saying bits and bobs in the first place?
There are two main bits and bobs origin stories …
i. The first is related to spare change jangling about old British pockets. The ‘bit’ was shorthand for the threepenny bit, thruppence, or three pennies. The ‘bob’ was the shilling.
ii. The second story says that bits and bobs comes from the world of construction, i.e. drill bits and plumb bobs.
As we see in G.F. Northall’s 1896 ‘A Warwickshire Word-Book’ : ‘Bits-and-bobs. Odds-and-ends. ‘Gather up your bits-and-bobs, and let me lay the tea.’
Header Art: Alex Super