Bob's your uncle

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...And Bob's your uncle is an expression of unknown origin, commonly used in Great Britain and Commonwealth countries. Typically, someone says it to conclude a set of simple instructions, similar to the French expression "et voilà!".

"Bob's your uncle" is an exclamation that is used when "everything is all right" and the simple means of obtaining the successful result is explained. For example: "left over right; right over left, and Bob's your uncle – a reef knot". Sometimes the phrase is followed with "and Nellie's your aunt" or "and Fanny's your aunt". It is sometimes elaborately phrased Robert is your mother's brother or similar for comic effect.

Origin[edit]

A.J. Langguth and others have suggested that the expression arose after Conservative Prime Minister Robert "Bob" Cecil appointed his nephew, Arthur Balfour, as Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1887; apparently surprising and unpopular. In this sense the expression also carried a hint of sarcastic envy or resentment, rather like "it's who you know" not "what you know" that gets results, or "easy when you know how". Since then the meaning has become acknowledging, announcing or explaining a result or outcome that is achieved more easily than might be imagined.[1][2]

Another explanation is that it is related to the British General, Lord Roberts, nicknamed "Bobs". The British Army in India coined the term "Bob's your uncle" to indicate one had the good fortune of being related to the commanding general.[citation needed]

In culture[edit]

Numerous works of arts, entertainment, and media either use the phrase as a title or include the use of the phrase. The following are examples.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Trahair, R. C. S. (1994). From Aristotelian to Reaganomics: A Dictionary of Eponyms With Biographies in the Social Science. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 72. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Bernstein, Jonathan (2006). Knickers in a Twist: A Dictionary of British Slang. Canongate U.S. p. 65. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 

Further reading[edit]