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Scranny, Bob & Fanny

Posted by ESC on October 11, 2000

In Reply to: Scranny posted by Bruce Kahl on October 11, 2000

: : In the phrase: Bob's Your Uncle, Fanny's your Aunt where does the Fanny's your Aunt come from?

: : Also what is the origin of the term scranny. It was often used to describe a girl when I was at school?
: : i.e. a nice bit of scranny..... someone has told me that it could be a old english word for a tasty morsel
: : of food... Any other info?

: Scran"ny) a. [See Scrannel.] Thin; lean; meager; scrawny; scrannel. [Prov. Eng. & Scot.] Lean, thin, bony, lank, meagre, gaunt, angular, skinny, emaciated, attenuated, scranny, scrawny.

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).

I've heard people (in the U.S.) say "My Aunt Fanny" in response to hearing something that's not believable. But I don't know who Fanny is unless the phrase is a substitute for saying "My a*s."