Fob off

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Fob off means to cheat someone by substituting something of inferior quality, to attempt to pass off something of inferior quality as genuine, to set something aside as no longer important. Fob off is a verb phrase, related phrases are fobs off, fobbed, off, fobbing off. Fob off comes from the Middle English word fobben, most probably derived from the German foppen, which means to delude, to impose upon. The term fob off reached its peak of popularity in the mid-1700s, according to Google Ngram but surprisingly, has made a huge comeback in the last fifty years.


The Hindujas, Nandas and Chowdhries usually make much more money for themselves and their foreign associates and fob off their Indian connections with small change. (The Deccan Chronicle)

Turnbull is already off to a bumpy start, incredibly being unwilling to cost his 10-year company tax cuts, the centrepiece of the Coalition’s budget, then attempting to fob off the request by stating that policies are not usually costed beyond the four-year budget period. (The Australian Financial Review)

These people are easy to fob off with “I’m not sure yet” and “it’s a surprise.” (The Huffington Post)

He would demand cash upfront, fob off any customers who complained his work was faulty, and in one case never returned to do a job after taking £1,000 for materials. (The Manchester Evening News)

Jones tried to fob them off, tried to fob off the media that was starting to ask awkward questions — he told me a number of times earlier this year it was a police matter and he couldn’t possibly comment. (The Australian)

Everything is airy fairy, a bluff to fob off the anxious public, while they just carry on, concentrating on self-enrichment, consolidating their position and taking care of the future careers of kith and kin. (The Ceylon Daily News)