It's like gobbing on The Rokeby Venus

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susanna76

Senior Member
Romanian
Here's from Julian Barnes, "Vigilance," in the short-story collection The Lemon Table:
". . . don't cough in the middle of Mozart. It's like gobbing on The Rockeby Venus."

Is gob used commonly as a verb?
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/american_english/gob
gives gob (1) only as a noun:

gob1 Pronunciation: /gäb/

informal
Definition of gob
noun
1. a lump or clot of a slimy or viscous substance: a gob of phlegm

  • a small lump.
2. (gobs of) a lot of: he wants to make gobs of money selling cassettes
 
  • susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Hi cyberpedant, I'm suprised the Oxford dictionary doesn't mention its usage as a verb at all. That's why I asked.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I don't know what that dictionary is, but 'gob' is commonly a verb, a vulgar word for "spit". It's also commonly a vulgar or colloquial noun for "mouth", so I think you should move to a more comprehensive dictionary, especially as you're already so skilled in English. These are not obscure or dialectal meanings.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I first came across the word as a verb in the 1970s when a student told me that one of my fellows 'gobbed' and that this explained the reluctance of people to sit in the front rows of his classes. The meaning was obvious from the context, and I was familiar with the vulgar word, gob, meaning a mouth - shut your gob, infants used to cry at my primary school. I haven't heard it much since.

    The verb is appropriate in Julian Barnes's context, to point the disgrace of treating the Venus's sublime buttocks (Velasquez painted her from the back) with such lack of ceremony.
     

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    My bad. I should have checked dictionary.com, as I almost always do. Each page includes entries from several dictionaries. I also check words at http://oxforddictionaries.com/ when I read British fiction, as this Oxford dictionary may vary from the Collins (Complete & Unabridged) entry on dictionary.com. The first entry on dictionary.com for each word is, I believe, from the Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. I can't be sure, since they stopped mentioning that on their pages, but that first dictionary section on dictionary.com is pretty good for American English -- and then I check others for slang, etc.

    That being said, I would still buy a large, complete and unabridged, dictionary for British English. I think I'll look for an electronic version.
     
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