Posted by Victoria S Dennis on April 11, 2008 at 07:08:
In Reply to: With knobs on posted by Manuela on April 10, 2008 at 10:53:
: I'm trying to find out where the following comes from and what it actually means: 'boo/poo to you, with knobs on'
"With knobs on" is 1920s slang, and it means "with extras, with embellishments". In the late 19th century "with bells on" or "with t i t s on" were used in the same sense.
In the context you give, it's a childish retort, used when the speaker can't think of a better answer to an insult (e.g. "Sucks to you!" "Same to you with knobs on!"). But in the light of the earlier version "with t i t s on", it's possible that it was originally mildly obscene, given that "knob" has been a slang term for "penis" since the 17th century. (VSD)