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Bobby is a short form of the forename Robert. There are two main types of such shortenings: they are convenient for writing, e.g. in lists; or they are essentially spoken pet-names, and thus informal. (See Conventional abbreviations for forenames.)

Short form Long form Informal or written Other short forms Remarks
Bobby Robert informal Bob; Dob; Hob; Rab(bie); Rob(bie); Robin

There is a list of similar names at Conventional abbreviations for forenames, as well as the category:short names

Note that any informal form may be spelled in different ways. Notably, any spelling listed that ends in '-ie' may be written with the ending '-y', and vice versa.

The short name Bobby has some slang meanings, which should not normally be used in academic writing. However, it may be valuable to some users of AWE to know what they mean.

  • The common noun 'a bobby' was one of the most usual colloquialisms in British English for a policeman. It was derived from Robert Peel (1788-1850), Home Secretary who introduced the Metropolitan Police Act in 1828, which effectively invented the modern policeman. Bobby (and 'peeler') have been replaced by many slang terms, copper (~ 'one who cops (arrests) criminals') is perhaps the longest-lasting. Others have included 'bogeys', 'busies', 'filth', 'fuzz', 'pigs', 'plods' (from 'P.C. Plod'), 'rozzers' and 'the Sweeney' (rhyming slang: 'Sweeney Todd' for 'Flying Squad'. (Wikipedia has a list of current (March 2010) terms at [[1]].) The police are not popular in the sections of society that coin the most slang.
  • Some uses of bobby in an adjectival way in compounds are:
    • bobby-dazzler, a striking-looking woman, particularly from the way she is dressed.
    • A bobby-pin, a sprung hair-clip, originally for use with bobbed hair.
    • Bobby-socks (or bobby-sox) were (or are) short socks, to ankle length, fashionable among principally teenage girls in the 1940s and 1950s in the USA - bobby-soxers.