Bob is a short for Bob Smith. In British English, a bob is the English word for a man or woman, especially an old, balding, or bearded one.
This isn’t a great explanation in English, and a quick internet look finds that you could probably find a slightly more detailed explanation by searching for either a Bob or a Smith.
However, in Spanish, a bob is the English word for a young, fat, or overweight man; sometimes referred to simply as a “bobo.”
Why do we always use a bob in Spanish?
In Spanish it is a short form of a verb and the word is usually used before the subject of the verb, in other words, to describe the person whom we are describing.
Bob Smith might be referring to the man or woman I am talking about, but what about Bob Smith, the guy or woman I mentioned?
It is likely they are both referring to the same guy or woman, but it usually wouldn’t be clear. With a bob it is.
Where does “Bob Smith” come from?
Originally, the word “bobo” was an insult used against white people in the U.S. and many other countries – but it quickly spread beyond what were originally intended and into many other regions of the world.
In Mexico, a Bob was the equivalent to a derogatory term used by blacks to refer to whites; in many countries it is still used to be offensive to whites as well, to some degree.
While it is possible that this was the origin of the word’s Spanish influence, it is more likely a combination of both.
Why does “bob Smith” exist?
In English we could never actually use the word bob without an ending to it – but in this context it has an ending.
Instead of a “b” we might create a s which would be a shortened form of the word bob, but we might also want to avoid the “s”, since it would sound a bit odd.
There is also an s that is “a” which is usually used, but we might consider using the “a” if we wanted more clarity.
The Spanish expression could have also originated out of English-inspired idioms which were also sometimes used there.
Examples of “bobs” in real life
Here are some examples of Spanish-based idioms that are often called bob words.
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