Posted by Gary on March 17, 2002
In Reply to: Bob's Your Uncle. posted by ESC on March 16, 2002
: : Somebody please help me.....I'm going crazy.
: : I keep hearing " Bob's your uncle." in movies
: : and on television. I was really beginning to
: : think I was hearing things. Finally someone
: : else was with me when I heard it again. They
: : didn't know what it meant either.
: : I have asked everyone I know.
: BOB'S YOUR UNCLE! - informal. Similar to "there you are! that's it! voila!.An expression used at the end of instructions such as road directions, recipes and the like.One explanation of this curious phrase is its alleged use in Robert Peel's campaign for a seat in Parliament. He was a 'law and order' man nicknamed Bob and 'uncle' was a term implying benefaction and protection: Vote for Bob - Bob's your Uncle! Maybe. 'Uncle' is British (as well as American) slang for 'pawnbroker,' and a pawnbroker is, presumably, a friend in need. Another educated guess at its derivation relates to the appointment in 1887 of Arthur Balfour as Chief Secretary for Ireland by the then Prime Minister Robert Cecil, Lord Salisbury, who happened to be Balfour's uncle. This obvious act of nepotism was decried by many. The saying then went (if this derivation can be believed): You ask for the job - he remembers your name - and 'Bob's your uncle!'." From "British English: A to Zed" by Norman W. Schur (Harper Perennial, New York, 1987).
Less commonly heard in the UK these days. Used to be used so often we had a 'Bob's your auntie's husband' variation.