We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are "Bits and Bobs"?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The idiom “bits and bobs” in the English language is a general term for an eclectic mix of items. The phrase is just one option for describing a jumble of objects. Many more synonymous words and phrases apply to this kind of mix of items.

Many who are familiar with the use of the colorful phrase in English will agree that the phrase is used more in the U.K. than in some other English speaking societies like the United States. Americans tend to use different phrases for this idea, one of the most popular being “odds and ends.” Both “odds and ends” and “bits and bobs” can refer to a wide range of collections of items.

Other ways to express the same idea as “bits and bobs” are single words. Speakers or writers can refer to a “hodgepodge,” an “olio” or a “salmagundi.” They can also use words like “mélange,” a word of French origin, or “mishmash.”

One explanation for the more common use of “bits and bobs” in U.K. nations is that some language observers have associated the phrase with types of coin money used in the U.K., where a small coin can be referred to as a “bit” and some refer to larger shilling coins as “bobs.” Here, it would seem that the phrase developed gradually from a word for a mixed bag of coins to a much more abstract way to describe a collection of items.

The phrase “bits and bobs” is often used for sets of items that are not the same. For instance, a speaker might refer to items left behind in a rambling mansion as “bits and bobs.” This can mean a collection of anything, from the smallest items like thumbtacks and rubber bands left in a drawer, to bulky, complex or valuable items, from a home gym set to a Grecian sculpture or an armoire. In other cases, the phrase is delimited by a context, for example, where the speaker may refer to a drawer as full of “bits and bobs.” In addition, someone could say that “bits and bobs” went into a recipe, where the result could be called a “hash.”

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.