Dob in = inform on
Posted: 06 February 2008 12:58 AM   [ Ignore ]
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What is the origin of the Australian verb “dob in”, meaning “inform on”?

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Posted: 06 February 2008 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The OED says it’s a variant of dab ‘To strike with a slight blow; to set or put down with a sharp, abrupt motion (cf. to stick down); to throw or fling down in a rough, careless, untidy manner.’ The first citation for the Aussie usage is:

1959 BAKER Drum (1960) 105 Dob in, to betray, to focus blame on another; esp. to dob someone in

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Posted: 06 February 2008 06:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The OED2 has it from 1959. Hornadge’s The Australian Slanguage also has dobber, meaning betrayer.

It’s a variant of dab. Exactly how dab came to mean betray is unclear. My guess is that it is from the sense of that verb meaning to throw or fling down violently, as in someone casting away the trust.

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Posted: 06 February 2008 07:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Ahem.

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Posted: 06 February 2008 07:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Yeah, yeah. You pipped me while I was searching for the Hornadge book.

And I didn’t catch that the OED tied it to a specific definition of dab, but it’s the same one that I assumed.

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