Posted by TheFallen on August 18, 2002
In Reply to: Gubbins??? posted by homily_one on August 18, 2002
: Mother often says "Don't give me an of your old gubbins". Now I know she means not to talk back or make excuses, but is there a background to that statement?
Gubbins is a chiefly British and by now old-fashioned slang term that originally meant the fragments of something. It then became used to describe an amount of nondescript (and presumably useless) bits and pieces - "I can't even get into the shed because your father's got all his old gubbins lying around." - and therefore figuratively to mean unimportant nonsense, as in your mother's phrase. It almost invariably is used with the adjective old, as you suggest. The origins of the word according to my dictionary are unclear, but it suggests that it probably sprang from a now long-dead word "gobbon", itself related to "gobbet".