#1 Posted by Deusoma (3032 posts) -

If I may address my esteemed friends from across the pond, there's a question that's been stuck in my head lately that I've never much been able to answer: 
 
Why, exactly, does the phrase "Bob's your uncle" mean 'everything is great', 'things have gone according to plan', etc.?
 
I know there are a lot of odd phrases and sayings floating around in the language, but this one always seemed a bit more out-there than most.
 
Oh, and before someone links me to Let Me Google That For You, I'm well aware I could just do a search on these here Interwebs, I just thought it would be more fun to ask actual people first.

#2 Posted by FLStyle (4923 posts) -

and Fanny's your aunty.

In all seriousness, I haven't the slightest idea. I also don't know why Billy specifically has no mates.

I imagine the answers have simply been lost to time.

#3 Posted by Galiant (2195 posts) -

I thought "Bob's your uncle" was another way of saying "before you know it". That makes even less sense, now that I think about it...

#4 Posted by Farmer (328 posts) -

I always assumed it was a reference to some kind of old novel

#5 Posted by PsychoPoo (9 posts) -

I believe "Bobs Your Uncle" has something to do with a British commander in India who always won his battles. His men called him "Uncle Bob". So Uncle Bob was associated with things going right and would you know Bob's your uncle thats where the phrase (may) have come from.

#6 Posted by rflx (577 posts) -

I'm pretty sure that expression is only used in England. The rest of Europe doesn't speak like crazy people.

Online
#7 Posted by Shivoa (645 posts) -
#8 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (1183 posts) -

@rflx: and Scotland and Ireland and Wales

#9 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11409 posts) -

@rflx said:

I'm pretty sure that expression is only used in England. The rest of Europe doesn't speak like crazy people.

I can't speak for mainland Europe as a whole, but my time spent learning French disagrees with your assertion. Some of them say "chouette" as the equivalent of "cool" (not in reference to temperature).

You know what "chouette" means when translated literally? It's a female owl. They say "lady owl" when they call some cool or neat. Tell me that's not crazy!

#10 Edited by deerokus (568 posts) -

@Jonny_Anonymous said:

@rflx: and Scotland and Ireland and Wales

I don't think I've ever heard a Scottish person say 'Bob's your uncle', unless in an ironic sense. I think this is really only widely used in Cockney dialects. Frankly, it's one of those things that Americans think people from the UK say much more often than it is actually said.

It's cute when you guys impersonate 'British' accents.

As for French, that has loads of amazing idiomatic sentences, possibly more even than English. The only ones that spring to mind right now are very obvious ones. When a French person wants to so that they miss somebody, they will tell them 'tu me manques'. Literally, this actually means 'you miss me' or 'you lack me'! Instead of a hangover, French people have 'la guele de bois' - 'wooden throat', and instead of standing up a date, they 'poser un lapin' - "place a rabbit" :S

For this reason, the Hangover's title in France is an odd bit of Franglais: It doesn't have a French name, it's just called 'Very Bad Trip'.

#11 Posted by deadeyes (71 posts) -

I've always used it as something like "and thats it done" 
 
I've never really thought about what it meant, just say it sometimes although rarely. I do usually say "and Bobs your Mothers brother" dont know why. 
 
Im Scottish by the way if that matters :P

#12 Posted by Patman99 (1620 posts) -

@Jonny_Anonymous said:

@rflx: and Scotland and Ireland and Wales

and Canada

#13 Posted by mscupcakes (612 posts) -

Well... Bob is my uncle.

#14 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (1183 posts) -

@deerokus: I'm Scottish and I say Bobs your Uncle all the time, swiftly followed by Fannys your aunt, as do most of my friends and family

#15 Posted by mrfizzy (1555 posts) -

@Patman99 said:

@Jonny_Anonymous said:

@rflx: and Scotland and Ireland and Wales

and Canada

And Australia.

#16 Posted by LD50 (412 posts) -

@mrfizzy said:

@Patman99 said:

@Jonny_Anonymous said:

@rflx: and Scotland and Ireland and Wales

and Canada

And Australia.

I've only heard Aussies say it.

#17 Posted by mandude (2666 posts) -

Never heard it in Ireland.

#18 Posted by Yummylee (22575 posts) -

That's more of a cockney saying. Living closer to the North (Starks FTW!...), across the Mersey from Liverpool, I've never heard anyone say Bob's ya Uncle, Cor Blimey, Tally Ho - and in fact it's Americans doing antiquated impressions of the British that tend to use those sorts of terms more than the actual English people these days.

#19 Posted by Deusoma (3032 posts) -
@deerokus
'Tu me manques' is more accurately translated as "You are missing from me", as though the person saying it has a big You-shaped hole in their heart when you're not around, awwwww.
#20 Posted by NlGHTCRAWLER (1210 posts) -

"Bobbing" your uncle. It means to perform oral sex on your uncle.

It's an insult. Anyone ever says that to you, you punch them in their face... Unless they are actually bobbing your uncle. If that is the case just let it be.

#21 Posted by deerokus (568 posts) -

@Deusoma said:

@deerokus:
'Tu me manques' is more accurately translated as "You are missing from me", as though the person saying it has a big You-shaped hole in their heart when you're not around, awwwww.

You're right. That one always confuses me. It's an odd construction to wrap one's head around.